It’s hard when someone close to you dies and you can’t reach out for the most simple of acts: a hug, a shoulder to cry on, someone to tell you everything is going to be alright.
Imagine the following scenario: someone you loved, someone you looked up to as a hero died and there’s no one close by to offer a hug or a kind word.
I was at work when Alan Rickman died, I was in a call at work when David Bowie died. I was at work a year before when Christopher Lee died. I recall someone looking at me funny after I announced his passing. Like “who was that? why should you be so concerned?”
I was at home when George Michael died, I was at my desk when the news broke out about Carrie Fischer’s death.
There were no physical hugs, no words to comfort me.
I shared my grief, my pain, my tears with my fellow geeks. Men and women I’ve meet online, on Facebook and quickly bonded over our mutual love for movies, comics, TV series and books.
I didn’t got my kind words at home nor the hug but I got them online. Through chats and inbox messages, sharing our grief and sadness over the passing of artists we appreciated.
I was once asked why would I invest myself so much into such a frivolous pursuit of being a fan of an actor, a movie, a character? Enjoy the movies, like the book. Get over it! It’s not like you’ll ever meet him/her! Why don’t you focus being so passionate about something more constructive like…your job!
Well, the answer is very simple. These men and women, these artists showed me there was a better world out there. Through books, through characters, through stories and songs.
Some are blessed having parents or close friends near by with whom they can talk about all these things, be understood and not feel weird and out of place when you hear Alan Rickman died or you cry because Carrie Fischer passed away. You have no idea how lucky you are if you feel at home in your own home. You can’t even begin to understand how lucky you are to have your own family embrace this side of you, nurture it and not treat you as a weirdo.
However, don’t despair. You see, if you’ve found a group, a couple of pals online with whom you talk about your fandoms, you’re not alone. They are your family just as much as your parents. Because, they understand without questioning and are there without having to call them. You cry with them, you’re joyful when something amazing happens concerning your mutual interests. The only downside is you’re too far away and can’t share the physical aspects of a hug or hanging out like friends do at the movies, at the pub or at home chatting ’til dawn.
How many among you, tonight, when the news about Carrie Fisher’s death began spreading like wild fire had a friend close by? Or someone in the family to understand your pain? I had my online friends, my friends who understood and shared my pain, who were devastated, who cried and wanted to be hugged. Someone who doesn’t understand why everyone is venting over Facebook and Twitter, cursing 2016, laughs about it, makes jokes and some, even ridicule the grieving party. The joys of the Internet and the world.
To those who don’t understand why many of us are grieving the passing of so many artists, especially this year, let me try to explain to you why we hurt, why we suffer, why we take this type of news so hard. It’s not to difficult to understand. It’s because we grew up with these artists, they were part of our childhood and adolescence. The characters they’ve played meant something to us on a deeper level. Those characters shaped our minds and helped us become the men and women we are today. We looked up to them. They taught us to stand up for what we believe in. They showed us we can overcome anything if we rise up and face our fears, if we’re confident in our powers everything is possible. Just like a parent teaching a kid right and wrong, the actors and the characters they played showed us the same thing and sometimes we got those lesson better and we enjoyed them more.
Yes, it might make some laugh seeing grown men and women cosplay, talk for hours about Star Wars, Marvel and DC. Let them laugh. Let them make jokes for their lives aren’t as rich and fun like yours.
Through songs, through lyrics, through characters some of us managed to rise up and make something of our lives. We care about these artists, about these actors and directors because they’ve become a part of our souls and with each death, a part of us was torn to shreds.
That’s why we hurt, that’s why we cry and curse Death and 2016. Because they took too soon so many of the ones we cared about. Because they took a part of us. It felt like we’re saying farewell to our childhood, watching a door close and knowing we can’t never open it. We felt closer to Death’s door-step. We felt and felt and felt some more until we couldn’t take it anymore. Some hugs were virtual but so much needed and appreciated. Even being many miles away, we know someone out there felt the same way. We shared our joys and we were there during the heartache. With a kind word, with a memory, with an emoji, with a virtual hug. Knowing you’re not alone means a lot. Knowing you’ve got someone beside yourself to rely on means the world.
“And death shall have no dominion.
Dead man naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.”