Today, I saw someone online literally freak out over people grieving the deaths of the celebrities we lost this week. A person whose profile highlights them as a therapist, tore into people about grieving a celebrity instead of focusing on more important issues.

We’ve seen the same when it comes to the refugee situation. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again — the human mind, our human emotions and our hearts are not restricted by only being able to see one thing at a time. And our hearts, our emotions, and our minds are all affected by different things.

Feeling something at the death of a celebrity isn’t insane. It’s not illogical, and it doesn’t mean that the people who are mourning that death are somehow mentally unstable.

Every day, people mourn the loss of members of their community whom they may have only known briefly, because they know of the impact those people made on others’ lives. We mourn the deaths of people lost in car accidents, fires, and other things whether we knew them or not.

Mourning a celebrity, particularly one who has touched your life in some way, is the same. You don’t need to know someone personally – even know what they were like, to mourn the loss from how they touched you.

This last week has been a difficult one, with the losses of David Bowie and Alan Rickman. People mourn because these men have found ways to impact people around the world. For Bowie, it was everything from his music to the weird and crazy persona he had developed, which helped many of us accept our own weirdness. For Rickman, it was through some of the iconic roles he played.

Sometimes, it was because they touched us, others simply because his brilliance was thrust into every role he played. He gave us a piece of himself in these characters. He made us think, he made us feel.

Yes, there are certainly plenty of things going on in the world today that are important and require our focus. There are situations locally and abroad that deserve our time and even in many cases, our action. But they do not need to be exclusive in order for us to feel. The idea that one must be selective in their compassion is the kind of thinking that leads towards choosing who and what is worthy of humanity, is worthy of our thoughts, our feelings or our time. When we teach people to be selective in their compassion, we are teaching them that there is a hierarchy in who is deserving of being considered ‘human’.

If you don’t understand the reason behind someone grieving a person they’ve never had contact with, don’t respond in animosity. I can promise there will be a time where you will be moved to grief by something that others do not understand, and in turn, we promise not to call you crazy either. Because we understand.


  1. Brittany Pines

    I am normally one of those people. For instance, Bowie’s death did not make me feel bad…I just have no personal connection. Rickman was a bummer…because I am more familiar with him. My issue is more when people mourn literally every single celebrity death, or cry about someone that literally a month ago they would have made jokes about (ie Michael Jackson). That somewhat fake grief seems selfish to me- like it is taking away something from the true victims/loved ones. But empathy for others is certainly something worth having.

    1. Post

      I definitely agree with that. I mean, it’s one thing to be sad about it. Loss of life is loss of life, but I definitely know the people you mean. I’ve seen quite a few of them. It’s sad, because that’s when it becomes about attention for the person claiming to mourn, instead of for the one lost. It can take away from those who truly are mourning.

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