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I can never speak for anyone else’s experience.
I don’t know how the deaths of celebrities affect others.
I can see that others are affected by the outpouring of emotions and thoughts on Facebook, obviously. But I’m not sure what experience, if any, is common among any particular groups.
I’m always hesitant to share my experience because I view the world through the eyes of someone who lives with chronic major depression (i.e., it lurks around every corner) and obsessive suicidal thoughts (i.e., my brain only owns one record and loves to play it). I worry my experience is too weird, too worrisome, too depressing or too something that will make others scared of me.
I especially question whether anyone would share my thoughts about death since death is a real trigger issue for me. But then I remember how helpful it is to me when someone shares their own thoughts and I relate to those thoughts and I am comforted by the knowledge that I am not alone.
When I’m doing well, which is, thankfully, a lot of the time if not most of the time, I respond almost “normally” to deaths like those of George Michael and Carrie Fisher. I feel very reasonably sad while I remember how much I love George Michael’s music and Carrie Fisher’s books and movies. I get appropriately sentimental about the times in my life that their respective works were most important to me.
George Michael is a bit of a potential trigger because I listened to Listen Without Prejudice on a loop during a period in the 1990’s when I was feeling particularly down. I can easily get a bit weepy thinking about that album and a summer when my brother gave me that CD and it provided the soundtrack for an entire summer of sorrow.
But mostly I’m able to feel sad and blue in a normal way…the way normal people feel sad and blue. I don’t have to allow the feelings of sadness and blue-ness to go to an extreme. I don’t have to view the deaths of others as a sign or a message or anything more than an awful thing that happens in life …. because awful things happen in this life.
So, anyway, I was mourning fine.
But then Debbie Reynolds went and got sick.
And I thought Debbie Reynolds would be fine. Exactly the way I had thought Carrie Fisher would be fine.
And then, of course, she died.
And well, it got a little harder to keep being the normal kind of sad.
But I still maintained a ‘normal’ reaction.
I remained sad and blue in a normal way.
Even though now I had to think a lot about my own mother who has, throughout the years, told me a million times that she could never go on without me.
My mother is not on social media, but she does read my writing. Even though it’s not easy writing to read, obviously.
But, really, as difficult as my writing is to read, it’s far more difficult to live through. And my mother has had a front row seat.
Actually, she’s been backstage.
So not to worry. I can’t write anything that surprises, shocks or upsets my mother. We’ve come too far for that.
And luckily, when I’m writing about what we’ve been through, it’s generally a good sign that I’m doing well. So there’s that… as they say.
At times in the distant past, when I had not been doing so well, my mother would say things like “I could never go on if something happened to you.”
It’s odd to talk about this now. It seems like many lifetimes ago.
But back in the past, I never asked my mother whether she could go on without me. I never even wondered.
But she told me.
And I always responded the same way.
I always told my mother that if I ever took my life I would know that she, of all people, would be okay and would understand why I had done so – since she had seen the most of how much pain I lived with when I was in pain.
I sincerely hope we never have to test either my mother’s theory or mine. In my healthy mind, I hope that’s not a reality ever. I don’t even want to come close, which is a very healthy thing to be able to say, by the way.
But honestly, I can’t imagine how Debbie Reynolds could have gone on without her daughter. I can’t imagine how much pain Debbie Reynolds would have been in.
And honestly, I can’t imagine that kind of pain ever subsiding.
I hope Carrie and Debbie are lunching somewhere wonderful in Heaven. I hope they see my Grandma Freda, who LOVED Tammy and the Bachelor. I never would have wanted Debbie Reynolds to die, but it’s oddly soothing that she went on to be with Carrie. I’m glad about that.
Damn. That mother-daughter thing is really really real.