Grieving for people you did not know in person | Cruse Bereavement Care

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    Grieving for someone you did not know

    During these difficult times many are sadly losing their lives. Some of these will be people you did not know in person. Sometimes people are shocked by how upset they can feel when a famous person dies, and even that they should not be grieving. But there are some good reasons why people can feel deeply affected when someone famous dies.

    Why we grieve people we don't know

    1. You feel like you knew them 

    Even though you may not have met in person, when someone is famous it may really have felt like you knew the person. If they were active on social media they may have shared very personal information which adds to the sense of really having known them. They may have been a role model or someone you admired.

    2. They are someone you truly admired

    If they are an artist, musician, actor or writer, their work may have helped you through difficult times in your life, or it may have remind you of more carefree periods or form a connection to your younger days. 

    3. Celebrity deaths can remind us of our own experiences

    The death of someone famous may bring up memories of your own bereavements – maybe you are already vulnerable. Perhaps the person who died has a connection with someone you have lost, or reminds you of them. Perhaps they were a big a fan. Or you may have shared a passion for the person who died.

    4. Their deaths can challenge our view of the world 

    Celebrities also feel like a part of the landscape that won’t change. The shock of their death, can challenge our assumptions about the world. This can make us feel vulnerable ourselves – particularly at the moment as we read about so many people dying of coronavirus.

    5. You are affected by the way the news is covered

    At the moment, when many of us are feeling very isolated anyway, difficult feelings can be even harder to control. In particular the news is a constant reminder of what is going on, and celebrity deaths are often given a lot of coverage. The responses of others on social media may also include a lot of personal information and emotion, which can bring up more of that emotion those reading, watching or listening. 

    If any of these feelings become unmanageable, we are here to help.


    How you can help yourself

    1. Allow yourself to grieve

    Give yourself permission to feel sad, for the person who has died and their loved ones, and also for what you have lost, in whatever form that may take.

    2. Talk to someone 

    Talking can help – there will be others who are affected by this death in the same way as you, and you might want to seek them out. Friends and family can also help, but it’s worth taking a minute to consider if they are also going through a difficult time or bereavements of their own. Not everyone will understand how the death of someone famous can feel.

    3. Find ways to remember the person

    It may help you to take some time remember the person. You can hold your small memorial, look at pictures, write down some of your memories, and if the person was an artist you can revisit their work. We also have a guide to remembering someone in the Cruse blog that can provide you with suggestions.

    4. Take a break from the news

    We often feel like staying up to date with sad events can make us feel better. But at the same time, it can help to take a break from news coverage if it is making you feel very sad and anxious – perhaps limit checking to once or twice a day.

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