2016 has been a rough year. David Bowie. Prince. Florence Henderson. George Michael. Carrie Fisher. Those are just some of the famous people.
It isn’t just in the celebrity world. A family I loved lost their father, grandfather. A guy I grew up with who does great things for kids with Type 1 Diabetes lost his dad, an awesome guy who I can’t say I’ve see much of over the years. You know, life gets in the way. And then we all get together at wakes and funerals, if we can, and say things like, “let’s see more of each other.”
We mean it. We really really mean it. But then life gets in the way.
While life gets in the way, people die. People we all love, not just George Michael or Carrie Fisher. People we actually know who mean something to us; people who hit us differently than the celebrities who touch us in some way. We go through our closets and look for appropriate clothing to wear to the requisite wake that we don’t want to attend, but feel obligated. If it was our mother or father, we know people would be there. Or we can’t get there because something happened at work, again, that prevents us from paying our respect in person.
But what about the living? Why do we wait for the obituary to profess our love? Our affection?
Why are we so quick to react in anger but not in love?
How many times have you honked the horn at someone who has cut you off? I’d say often. How many times have you remembered the person who let you cut in front of them? I’d say not as much.
Since the celebrity deaths seem to be the ones that shake us up the most let’s learn the most from them.
From David Bowie: You don’t have to fit into any mold. Only you can define you.
From Prince: Nobody is immune to addiction, no matter how talented, no matter how loved.
From Florence Henderson: Don’t play ball in the house. No, that’s not really it. The lesson is that love is never ending. Biology is important, but it isn’t the end all.
George Michael: Oh, this one is tough. His career tanked after he was arrested for a sexual dalliance in Beverly Hills. He was so much more than that. Where was all the love when he was alive? Don’t waste it on the dead. Give it to the living.
Carrie Fisher: Where do I begin? Mental illness needs more understanding. Yes. You. Don’t accept it only because someone is famous. It happens to those who are not famous.
Addiction is real. Oh my god. It is so real. It is happening in your neighbor’s house, maybe in your house. It is real, so very real.
Laugh. Just laugh. No matter what is going on, there is something to laugh at. Laugh. Please, God, laugh!
Then from the friends that I have that lost loved ones, the ones who are not famous, who won’t make the tabloids: Love. Love like you are going to die on a plane or in your sleep on Christmas or any of the ways the celebrity deaths got attention. Love, because in the end, that’s all we’ve got. We can’t take anything with us. Except love. Love, unlike money or houses or boats, love is always there.
So while you are mourning George Michael or Carrie Fisher, yes, they deserve to be mourned, maybe take a moment and tell someone what they mean to you. Tell someone thank you. Tell someone you miss them. Tell them you love them. Ok, maybe just that you like them. But don’t wait. Life’s short. Don’t wait. Please don’t wait.