Shed a Tear, Raise a Glass


What a horrible thing that has turned out to be.

Inevitable, but horrible.

What’s that saying… there is nothing surer than death and taxes. Something along these lines. Unfortunately, never a truer word said. We have all experienced the deep sorrow of sadness and loss. The mixed feelings of helplessness, regret, fear and of course the unanswered questions. But what happens when we do not personally know the sadly deceased? They are not a friend or family member, yet we still mourn them as though they were close to us. It is more than likely someone in the public eye. A Celebrity. A Superstar. An Icon. How do we grieve for them? Why do we grieve for them? In short, I have no idea, but we do.

Elvis Presley, James Dean, Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, Marilyn Monroe, Jimmy Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and of course David Bowie and the recent Prince. Just a minuscule snapshot of the 100’s upon 100’s of local, national and international people who have passed before their time that none of us were actually friends with or knew on a personal level. Yet, we all felt a bit of grief and sadness when we heard of their untimely deaths.

In years gone by, fans would form a vigil at the deceased persons home, recording studio, place of death or any significant location and would leave flowers, poems, photos. They would write letters for them to take to the afterlife with a lit candle to ensure delivery and the fan community would come together and offer support whilst altogether feeling as though this person was a true true friend to them. However, they have never known this person but I can strongly suggest that this ‘star’ has helped them through something in life and influenced thoughts, decisions and actions.

‘Famous people’ are generally portrayed as ‘good people’, hard working and with a strong work ethic to’ better ‘themselves. Maybe that is why we support them. Adore them. Worship them. They remind us of,well, us.

Whilst the candle lit vigils still take place worldwide, the vast majority of mourners grieve vocally on social media sites. Good or bad, this cannot be ignored. there are numerous dedication sites, pages and groups accessible to anyone and everyone. As with the physical vigil, fans share their photos, memories and stories with people with they have never met. However, they all share the same thing. The famous person they love and adore. Complete strangers ‘like’ the song words from that particular song you have posted, the video clips are shared and loved and the conversations flow as if these people had been friends for years. Judging is very rare, but when it happens, it usually comes in the form of online trolls who have nothing better to do.

There are certain people who make it their mission to strongly word their opinions. This is not just specifically aimed at those fans and superfans but anyone who has anything to say. There is literally no subject too sad or happy for them to drop a clanger on. They look for a reaction and an argument. Anything where they can spout their vile remarks and hide behind the whole ‘I just say what others are thinking’ overused cliched remark. Phrases of choice include, Oh surprise surprise, someone has died and all of a sudden all my FB friends are their biggest fans, everyone is their no 1 fan now, who gives a f***, they wouldn’t have cared less if you died, get a grip. That last statement, in effect, is actually 100% true.

But who cares.

Correct, they wouldn’t have an opinion on it as we have not played an important part of their lives. We didn’t write an amazing life changing song. We haven’t given the most heart wrenching performance in their favourite film. God, we haven’t even written a sentence that they would take a second glance at. So what! We may not have known them personally or them us, but they have touched our lives in a way that nobody else has. Their films, poems, songs, art etc have helped through our happiest and hardest times. They have made us smile when we are sad and understood our dilemmas. That song that was playing in the car as we drove home after our first date. That cinema date you had with your dad before he passed away. The poem that was sent to you by an unknown admirer who to this day remains a stranger. Everything is attached to memories. Great, amazing memories. Memories that nobody else will understand as they are personal to you. Nobody else needs to understand. These stories, films and words have lifted you up and possibly changed your views, opinions and ideals. Someone on God’s earth made these thoughtful pieces of work just for you. You are entitled to keep their memories alive. Take my advice, shed a tear or two for them. Raise your next glass in their memory of them.

Until we meet again x


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