How bad is 2016? Pretty bad, huh? Can anyone ever remember anything worse?
The thing is, while the resentment and pain are typical in some ways, especially in the case of a celebrity who, because of the culture, we felt we knew or had a connection with, but in the end, we’re a bit selfish. Their paths are in a new direction, one we can’t follow, and we resent that we don’t get any more from them. But here’s my question, whose passing is more important, Carrie Fisher’s or Richard Adams’? In the past week, Alan Thicke or George Michael?
Let’s change the stakes. How much of that emotional output we’re all pouring out now was shed for the 1000 Libyan refugees who drowned off the coast of Italy in one night last summer?
Or the civilians caught in the crossfire in Aleppo?
Or the Italians killed when the earthquake hit in the middle of the night and collapsed their village on top of them as they slept?
Or the 92 passengers of the Russian jet that went down Christmas day?
Or the millions of people who, despite all the promises and exhortations that we just needed to give a little bit more, that a miracle cure was just around the corner, lost their fights with cancer – one of whom was my own mother?
People die every year. It is the cycle of life. We are born, we walk our journeys, we pass on. Some may acquire more fame and celebrity that others during their journey, but they, too, pass by and pass away. Just like anyone else. Their being well known doesn’t make them better. That they represented an ideal perhaps does – if it is something you find that resonates you. But you don’t lose an idea when you lose the person. Not if they’ve done their work correctly in sharing it.
You think 2016 is bad? 2011 had 51 celebrities pass away (including Elizabeth Taylor, Amy Winehouse, Cliff Robertson, Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage, to name a few) – and over 22,000 people killed by the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
How about 2004? Well, we lost Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo), Marlin Brando, Christopher Reeve, Paul Winfield – oh, and somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 people due to the Christmas Tsunami in the Indian Ocean.
All I need to say is two numbers, and your mind will flash back to an image, now starting to fade, but still accessible, of a time when death and fear and community became part of all the United States. 9/11 ring a bell?
So, is 2016 a bad year? Is there really a good one? The only thing you can do is know what you can affect – the moment you are in, and the space around you. Make those better, one moment at a time.