Carrie Fisher Just like many of the years which preceded it, 2016 was inundated with a number of notable celebrity deaths. I mean, lets face it, after a while it looked like someone was popping off on a monthly basis. Be it an actor, a musician, an author, or dare I say it, a brand of reality star, nigh on every time I turned on the TV a newsreader would tell us the tragic news regarding someones passing. Now taking all of this into account, what I would like to know is how can we cope with hearing this type of news, time and time again? Plus is there anything we can possibly do to counteract it?

Answer: Yes, but in the same breath, no, not really. We're only human after all, and as such, we each have different ways of coping with loss, regardless of our background, our education, or our status in life. I remember when the late, great, Robin Williams died in 2014, I myself had a tough time coming to terms with his demise, largely due to the controversy which surrounded it.

Robin Williams
So what did I do? I cracked up, that's what. Not in a negative sense, of course. I like to think in a more positive sense, and I did this by going onto the internet, every day, for months on end, and watching, reading, and studying Robin Williams like I would a historical figure or event.

As you might have guessed, eventually I came to the realization that Robin was, shock-horror, human like the rest of us, possessing the same human foil balls most of us cope with on a daily basis. Through this, I also found out that, as a human -- yes, I know it sounds funny when I put it in those terms -- Robin was both more than what I initially thought he was, and less than what I initially thought he was, at the same time, simultaneously, while coping with a mental illness that finally got the better of him. So not only was he a father, a son, and a student of human nature, but he was also a lonely boy who grew up to become a master comedian filtered through an actor's manic lens.

I hope it goes without saying that I do mean this with all due respect, no offence intended, as I wouldn't want to disrespect Robin, his family, or anyone else associated with his legacy. I suppose what I'm trying to say here, more or less, is that my own confusion surrounding his death mainly stemmed from me, as a fan, looking up to him as if he were a God, or a master in his chosen field of entertainment. That's what bothered me the most, me, my reaction as a fan, pining for someone I thought I knew yet didn't, and couldn't, because he was no longer with us. 

Come to think of it, on the whole 2016 also hit me pretty hard as well. To start the year off, in January we all said goodbye to the musician: David Bowie; the actor: Alan Rickman; as well as the boxer: Muhammad Ali. Then in February we heard the tragic news that Cool Hand Luke's George Kennedy had died in his sleep, which was quickly followed by the passing of Harper Lee, who wrote the novel, 'To Kill a Mockingbird'.  March and April didn't lighten the mood either, because in March, the Beatles producer George Martin left this mortal coil, and a week or so later, the comedian Garry Shandling suddenly died of a heart attack. And as for April, April saw Prince pass away, regrettably due to certain medical issues with his medication. In August we all heard about Gene Wilder finally succumbing to complications with Alzheimer’s disease, where as Kenny Baker, best known for playing R2 D2 in the Star Wars films, faded away after a long and drawn out illness. And finally, to end the year with a bang, Robert Vaughn lost his battle with acute leukemia in November, and in December, George Michael died of a heart attack on Christmas Day, with Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds suffering a similar fate a few days later. 

George Michael
Ouch-Ouch-Ouch! Just coming up with that list brought a tear to my eye, as it almost seems that on a monthly basis someone in the public eye will die. So what do we do? How do we cope? Can we cope? Can we live with it? Should we have to? Is there any other option? And why are there so many celebrity deaths happening now? What the hell is going on?

Well, I suppose if I can manage to calm myself down a bit, the second part of that rather long-winded question is pretty simple to answer. There are a lot more celebrities nowadays than their have ever been in the past, celebrities which range from actors, stand-up comics, TV Stars, and musicians, to name but a few. While in answer to the first part of that rather long-winded question, I'm afraid to say that there is no answer. Those are the rules stated by the nature of life, and we, as individual members of the human race, have no other choice but to each find our own way with expressing our personal grief.

That said, however, quite recently I've noticed that other people, myself included, come to terms with a celebrity's death by playing their songs, watching their films, or sending a message of condolence to those they've left behind. And personally speaking, I feel that this is a more positive way of going about it. Show your love for someone's work and openly express how they made you feel. Don't shy away from watching or hearing their wares because they are no longer with us. With all due respect, I'm sure they wouldn't like that, as they'd rather someone appreciate the work they've left behind them. Wouldn't you? I know I would. 

More importantly than that, though, try to learn from their lives and take heed from their past actions, be it either in a negative or positive context. Life lessons will never go out of fashion, and in around about way it is the only constructive thing we can take away from the by product of life, namely, death.

Love, light, and peace, my friends. You will be missed and never forgotten.


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