I don’t normally gush and break down over the deaths of celebrities. I do feel sad, and it can be emotional if you are a big fan of a particular person. I did cry my heart out when Freddie Mercury died, as I was a huge fan and a hormonal and emotional teenager at the time of his death, and I remember sitting up all night watching the news after the announcement of Princess Diana’s car accident and then her death and being shocked and incredibly sad. Mainly because I was still reeling from the death of my own mother and the thought of her son’s loosing their mum broke my heart.
I have somewhat cynically scoffed at the mass outpourings of grief when someone famous dies, I’ll admit, however and not been able to understand how people feel the right to mourn someone they didn’t actually “know” in “real life”.
However, today, I cried in the car, in the dark, real tears of sadness for two celebrities who were childhood idols of mine, who died unexpectedly and I now take back some of my cynicism.
I grew up with WHAM. I loved and could sing all their songs, I had a poster of them above my bed and I kissed George Micheal goodnight every night (as did many a teenage girl of my generation)
George Micheal was incredibly talented, and appealed to a vast audience. He was open about his personal life and struggles, but his songs touched many and meant a lot. “Careless Whispers” was my first break up after a serious relationship song, and “Faith” is still a firm favourite and I embarrass my children by singing along to some of his songs, often, when they come on the radio. He was a gifted and talented artist and performer who sang along side so many other great artists. He replied to a tweet of mine, wishing him well after his illness. I remember phoning the husband at work, to tell him about it, and he laughed at me, for being so silly, “George Michael replied to my tweet”,was all I could stammer! I might be 40, and the mother of two, a charity director and hardly a teenager any more, but I still remember that teenage crush and how much I loved his music.
Somebody to Love, Freddie would have been proud…
Then tonight we heard that Carrie Fisher, most famous for her role as Princess Leia, had sadly died after not recovering from a heart attack. I think we were all secretly thinking “She beat the Empire, she can’t die” but sadly, even she couldn’t fight this one.
She was beautiful and talented and she kicked ass whilst carrying of some fabulous costumes and eccentric hair styles. She was a role model and idol for me and many others. A woman taking no crap in a man’s world in those movies. She was a talented actor and writer beyond Star Wars and also blunt and open about her personal life off screen and her struggles with alcohol, addiction and mental health. I admired her greatly.
I think I’m sad because the loss of these two famous people I didn’t know represent my childhood and teenage years and were a big part of it. They were heros to me and them dying has made me feel old and realise my own mortality that little bit more.
So, tonight, I’m unashamedly shedding tears for the loss of two famous people who I didn’t know but meant a lot to me, and many, many others and my heart goes out to their families and friends because of course their loss is greatest and they knew the real people behind the celebrity.
Princess Leia, may the force be with you, and George Michael, I will sing along to your songs this week and embarrass my children some more, as I remember my teenage years!
*Images sourced from istock photos*