Why Do We Mourn Celebrities?

This morning while I was making my bed and watching Good Morning America, I heard that Debbie Reynolds died. I was blown away. Just one day after she lost her daughter, Carrie Fisher, apparently she suffered a stroke while making funeral arrangements. The mystery of death.

The panel went on to discuss a newsweek.com article about why we mourn celebrity deaths, so I looked it up. It was written April 22, 2016 and explained quite a bit of why we mourn rock stars, celebrities and other famous people who die.

According to the article, nostalgia is a kind of pain, an acute longing for the familiar. That explains why when Prince, David Bowie and George Michael passed away, we tend to download or stream their music and recall what we were doing when we first heard those particular songs.

Apparently George Michael’s music downloads have increased by 1600% since his death.

The article goes on to say that “we’re not very well served by our culture because it tends to keep the genuine tragedy of death at bay.”

Instead of mourning at funerals, we hold celebrations. This is a time to mourn and that’s being denied. It offered some advice.

Wisdom based traditions advise practicing mourning. Socrates said that philosophy is “learning to die.” Buddhists meditate before skeletons. Christians keep Good Friday. And it’s good advice.



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