A couple of years ago, I was devastated by the Anthony Bourdain’s suicide. I loved his book Kitchen Confidential and his travel shows. I had watched every episode of his various travel and dining shows. His shows were personal and just like many others I felt connected to him. His suicide felt personal. Millions of people felt similarly. Or so it seemed.
Every year there is a death (often of a celebrity) that impacts one even when one doesn’t personally know the individual. Early this year, Kobe Bryant’s death was a sharp hit to the chest for many people. Flowers, teddy bears and more were left throughout Los Angeles and beyond on Kobe’s honor.
It is an interesting phenomena to observe across society. Feeling sadness and even deep grief for another is human. It bonds one to others and creates emotional connections. Grieving en masse creates this electrical current. It also serves as a momentary (albeit remote) reminder of the fragility of life. We appreciate that occasional reminder. We hope it right sets our lives. It may jar one occasionally into action. However, we often go back to a more sheltered state of mind. This weekend, the actor Chadwick Boseman died at the age of 43 of colon cancer. He played the Black Panther. He had connected with many and suddenly he died. Not many had known he had stage four cancer. And, just like that we find out and he’s gone. A stark reminder to also perhaps get one’s annual physical exam.
Collective grieving. It serves a perhaps. It’s jarring. Comforting. Focusing.