We may not have known them personally, but sometimes it can feel like we did. As the world grieves the late NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, Nicole explores why celebrity deaths hit us harder than we might expect.
This story contains themes of grief, loss and violence. If these subjects raise any concerns for you, please contact the relevant support services listed here.
Grief comes in many different forms for different people. But in most cases, you’re surrounded by love and support from other people who are either close to you or who have also been affected by the passing of your loved one. You’re there for all the funeral arrangements, you’re part of the entire process, and when it’s all over, the adrenaline settles and you really have time to grieve. It’s only then that you begin to comprehend what has happened.
On Monday it was reported that nine people were killed in a helicopter crash in California, among them, American basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. While the news of all fatalities is tragic, the Bryants are now trending all over social media. Around the globe, National Basketball Association (NBA) players, friends, family and fans, continue to express their heartfelt condolences.
There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love u and u will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW pic.twitter.com/pigHywq3c1
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) January 26, 2020
Losing a celebrity is significantly different from losing a loved one, however, it doesn’t mean it won’t still hurt. The confusing part of mourning the loss of a celebrity is that you tend to check social media, discover that someone you followed has passed away, and then you have to go about your day as normal. How can your world stop when those that truly knew this celebrity are mourning?
‘It’s crazy how somebody you don’t meet can mean so much to you.’ — These Kobe Bryant fans gathered at the Staples Center in LA to pay tribute to the basketball legend the day after his death pic.twitter.com/z2YPfgDS2p
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) January 29, 2020
Whether it’s your favourite musician, athlete, actress, author or someone else entirely, almost every person will have at least one star that has impacted their life. And nowadays, when we’re able to watch intimate interviews with these celebrities, interact with them on social media, and follow along with their successes, these connections seem even deeper.
The world has mourned the loss of celebrities such as singer Christina Grimmie, rapper Mac Miller, electronic artist Avicii, and actors Robin Williams and Cory Monteith, to name a few. We may only know them through a screen or stage, but we feel we know them enough to be saddened by their passing.
I started watching Christina Grimmie back in 2009 when she had about 2,500 subscribers on YouTube. I remember the first video I ever watched, her cover of “Fireflies” by Owl City and I instantly became a fan.
Her happiness was contagious and she spread positivity to all her fans, but I found myself relating to her because she was a Christian. I often found comfort in her song, “I Bet You Don’t Curse God”. I followed her throughout her journey on The Voice and watched as her career in the music industry took off, a proud supporter from the sidelines.
I was holidaying in Europe when I found out she was murdered at her own show in Orlando in 2016. I was devastated. Why? Because when you relate to a star so much, they truly become a part of you. Sometimes checking in on them on social media becomes part of your daily routine. You may find comfort in their success, or they may inspire you to become a better person. Somewhere along the track their voice, or skill, or story resonated with you and formed a deep connection that you may never experience again. How can you not be heartbroken when that precious connection is taken away?
If you’re currently mourning the loss of a public figure, in particular, Kobe Bryant, don’t feel like your hurt is invalid. Don’t feel like you can’t cry. Watch interviews when you’re sad. Scroll through their social media photos and reminisce on their significant moments. Losing a celebrity is hard because we lose a connection to something that’s special or nostalgic, something that makes up our identity and ambitions. So, just as I did with Christina Grimmie, allow yourself to mourn.