I’ve always felt uneasy about how one should really feel about “celebrity” deaths. When an actor, writer, or musician you love dies, going through a full-on mourning process seems inappropriate. Maybe you had the opportunity to meet them or interact at an event, but at the end of the day you didn’t have a personal relationship with them, and they wouldn’t know you if you passed them on the street. I can understand feeling bummed out, but most reactions are extreme to me, especially when the person’s body of work still exists for the world to continue to hold dear.
I think I understand it a little better now, though my feelings around it are still complicated. When Rachel Held Evans passed away, it wasn’t that I broke down crying and spent the day grieving. It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to live my life without her. It felt more like a weight. Because of her loss, we all have a greater burden to bear as we try to pick up the mantle she left behind.
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