Celebrity Deaths: Why Do They Make Us So Sad?

May 23, 2016 by Miller Funeral & Cremation Services Staff  


The recent bulk of high profile celebrity deaths seem to have left our nation reeling. Many people are surprised to find themselves deeply shocked and saddened by the death of a beloved actor or musician, and many more are wondering how the death of someone they never knew can affect people at such a profound level.


Celebrities Feel Like Family

In a sense, many of us have “grown up” with our favorite celebrities. TV, movies, radio, and now the internet gives us nearly unlimited contact with actors, pop stars, musicians, and even politicians. When a public figure dies, it can feel like someone we know personally has died as well. If a celebrity’s particular art form was special or important to us, we may feel as though we have actually lost a close friend.


Public Mourning Connects Us To Others

Due in part to our increasing isolation from one another in today’s fast-paced society, public mourning isn’t a common occurrence.  The days of the entire town gathering for a viewing and memorial service, or everyone stopping to pay respects as a funeral procession makes its way slowly down Main Street seem to be mostly over. Many of us hardly know our neighbors, and may not even be aware if someone who lives nearby has passed away.


Experiencing grief over the death of a celebrity is a way for the public as a whole to experience a much needed connection with others. Grieving together over the death of a celebrity, whether in person or via social media, can offer a cathartic release in ways that we just can’t achieve in the hustle and bustle of our day-to-day lives.


Celebrity Deaths Can Teach Us Lessons

Besides the feelings of connection to a favorite guitar player or movie actor, their deaths may turn our thoughts to our own mortality. Many of us go years without experiencing the death of anyone close to us, so when a celebrity dies it can remind us that life is not permanent. Being face-to-face with death in this way can help us to remember to cherish our own lives and the lives of our friends and family members, because we never know what tomorrow may bring.


There’s No Handbook For Grief

It’s important for anyone who is mourning the death of a celebrity to remember that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Keep the following in mind if you are struggling with your emotions after a celebrity has died:

  • You’re feelings are valid – Just because you are mourning the death of a public figure and not someone you knew personally doesn’t make your feelings of sadness any less valid. Accepting your emotions for what they are is the first step in the healing process.
  • Connecting with others is important – Talking with others who are also grieving, whether in person or through social media outlets, can be tremendously supportive and healing.
  • Know when to seek help – A period of mourning is normal, but if your grief has become overwhelming or is starting to affect your daily life, don’t be afraid to seek the help of a counselor, psychologist, or other professional.

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