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.
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. Their work may have helped you through difficult times in your live, or it may have remind you of more carefree periods or form a connection to your younger days.
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 – perhaps they were a big a fan. Or you may have shared a passion for the person who died.
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.
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 and understand how you feel.
How you can help yourself
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.
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.
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. 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.