2016 – Just stop. For the love of God, just stop!
I’m almost positive I’m not the only one out there done with this shitstorm year of 2016, with all of its losses and heartache.
What’s with the whole Gen-X icons dying off this past year?
David Bowie, Gene Wilder, Glenn Frey, Florence Henderson, Alan Thicke, Leonard Cohen, Alan Rickman, Vanity, Prince, Zsa Zsa Gabor – just to name a few, and the latest, George Michael and Carrie Fisher.
There are some who don’t understand why people get so grief-stricken when a celebrity icon dies. A celebrity can mean so much more than the characters they played or the music they made. For some these icons are familiar friends through the shared trials and tribulations in life. They become part of the fabric of our lives.
Take, for example, Carrie Fisher. She is an immortal pop-culture icon for her portrayal of Princess Leia in the classic Star Wars Trilogy, a favorite of many since it started in 1977. Carrie, by playing the role of Princess Leia, showed young girls all over the world that being a princess didn’t mean you were helpless and waiting to be rescued – you took action and stood strong with everyone else, fighting for what is good and right in the universe.
I will always remember Carrie’s personal struggles with addiction and recovery, for she was one hell of an inspiration. She was a major advocate for mental illness, and I admire her for sharing her stories so openly.
I have passed down my love (and knowledge) of the Star Wars Trilogy to my nephews, and now my great-nephew. I will never forget her other roles, such as Janie in the 1991 movie Drop Dead Fred, starring Phoebe Cates and the late, great Rik Mayall. If you haven’t watched this movie, I suggest you do – it’s wonderful!
These movies remind me of a simpler, more joyous time in my life, that I get to revisit each and every time I watch them.
The passing of music icons David Bowie, Prince, and most recently, George Michael, devastated my 2016.
Music has always been my unwavering companion throughout my life, which includes music from these icons. These three artists hit me hard in the heart; all got me through different time periods in my life, giving me strength and light in the darkness when I most needed it. I knew I was not alone in what I was feeling and going through, and I knew there was hope for better days because of these artists. They were my not-so-distant friends – when I needed them, all I had to do was pop on a record, cassette tape, CD or open my iTunes.
I’ve written about Bowie and Prince, but have yet to write my tribute to George Michael. I need a few more days on that one. The part of my life his music helped me survive was a combination of coming of age and finding hope for the future.
Leonard Cohen on the other hand…
I listened to his beautiful, soulful music for days on end when he passed away. His music has long been a soundtrack for a lot of my writing days and nights. His music always jarred words out of me that were just out of reach in the corners of my mind, eliciting emotions I thought were numb and non-existent. I guess you could say Leonard is one of my muses.
Thank you for the music and inspiration over the years, Mr. Cohen. You are immortal.
The works these celebrities and icons have left behind will live on, as will our memories and the feelings we have for them. Their physical bodies have passed on, but they remain forever immortal.
This is something we must strive for in our own lives. Let the works, deeds, talents and just our mere presence strike a chord inside the hearts of others. As long as our memory lives on, so do we.
And so to all the people we’ve lost in 2016 – whether a celebrity icon or a special loved one… and for all of those out there looking for one shred of hope to keep hanging onto… this playlist is for you.
And it’s hard to love, there’s so much to hate
Hanging on to hope
When there is no hope to speak of
And the wounded skies above say it’s much too late
Well maybe we should all be praying for time