A few big name celebrities have died over the last few months. Some of those names, David Bowie in particular, prompted a lot of comments and conversation on the social networks. Personally, I read many comments from people talking about sad they were, how devastated they were, and how much Bowie meant to them. I also read comments from people mocking other people’s sadness over someone they’ve never met. I really do have a serious problem with that.
There’s been a few times when a celebrity death has hit me hard. I wrote about my feelings on the death of Robin Williams. That one was difficult for me. In 2015 we lost Dusty Rhodes and Roddy Piper. As a lifelong fan of Professional Wrestling, those two losses were crushing to me, especially Roddy Piper, he was the reason I became of fan of that industry to begin with. I did meet Piper one time, but I never met Dusty Rhodes. I cried when those two died. I cried when Robin Williams died. In 1995, I cried when Mickey Mantle died. He retired from Major League Baseball 7 years before I was born. I know there’s been other celebrity deaths that have brought me to tears, but these are some of the ones that I can think of at the moment.
The point some of the critics had about people I’ve never met is only true to a very small degree. I haven’t met most of the celebrities that I’ve shed the tears over. They weren’t personal friends of mine, they weren’t family, they didn’t mean anything to me. Well, that’s just it. They were like friends of mine, they were like family, and they meant a lot to me and to many others as well.
In the cases of Dusty Rhodes and Roddy Piper specifially, those two spent their entire lives putting their bodies on the line in Professional Wrestling. I spent countless hours of my childhood being hooked by what they were doing and countless hours of my adult life admiring what they had been through just to entertain people. They brought smiles and happiness to many people. And those two, like so many other celebrities, entertainers, musicians, actors, and artists spend their lives making other people forget about their problems. That’s what friends do for one another.
I did not choose to be upset about any of their deaths. Just like I don’t choose to be upset when a relationship or a friendship has problems. I don’t choose to be happy when something goes well for me. Despite what I’ve heard recently on the radio (which may be a topic for a different time), I believe people cannot choose to be happy or sad. It’s what emotions do. People that are in touch with their emotions and allow their emotions to flow naturally feel what they’re supposed to feel at that time. There really isn’t much of a choice to it.
Do not tell me, or anyone else, that crying because a musician who has been entertaining people for over 40 years has died that we don’t have a right to feel sad or to shed tears of that. Do not tell me that it’s silly for that to happen. Do not tell me that the death of a “c-list” celebrity isn’t important enough to acknowledge on Facebook or Twitter. That person, while maybe not as famous as others, gave of him or her self to entertain us. Do not tell me what I am allowed to feel, because nobody can tell me what or how to feel, not even myself.