Ashes to Ashes: Grieving Dead Artists



When the news of David Bowie’s death broke out, my older sister wisely advised for my own mental health being, not to dwell longer than necessary on the thousands of tributes, music videos, and other news dedicated to this amazing man. Too late; while I reassured her I was fine, tears were streaming down my cheeks. Like many, a state of shock and denial emerged. Coincidentally, the previous week I was discussing his new album “Blackstar” with my boyfriend, praising Bowie’s dark approach to the subject of death. For the next week, I enter a state of sorrow going back to Bowie’s records hoping for inspiration to knock on my door and write my thoughts about his death; I found this task extremely difficult as the saddest fragment meant to hide those feelings.

When you grieve dead celebrities, actors, or musicians, although it’s ok to feel sad for a few hours, it seems one is not allowed to mourn as someone would mourn the death of a relative because is not “real” or it’s an exaggeration giving artists more importance than they deserve.  Fortunately, I found comfort from a dear friend who understood this mourning period of mine. She wrote to me every day and heard my emotional burdens over the phone. Her voice brought me peace relieving any sense of shame or stupidity for taking Bowie’s death incredibly unbearable. She wrote a wonderful tribute for the Huffington Post capturing the essence of the white thin duke and his monumental work.

Have you found yourself in a similar situation? Why some of us grieve over the death of an artist or celebrities? Perhaps the biggest reason is because this person brought a sense of closure or inspiration like we have never experienced before. Many artists have changed our society and personal views; they’re part of a culture who is hungry for changes. Bowie made it work in the most outrageous and authentic way without pondering on any conformism. He did just that until the very end of his life. Not many artists have the privileged to depart this earth surrounded by family and peacefulness. The right approach when a beloved figure dies is to remember the joy they brought to us. Trying to find comfort from friends and family can be somewhat challenging, but not impossible.

Bono once said: “There is nothing like a brush with mortality to put things into perspective. Everything comes into sharper focus, you really appreciate what you might have lost.” We need to understand the importance to give our minds the time to heal without rushing on “getting over it” remember, emotional intelligence is about recognizing our feelings and labeling them properly, without judgment, to guide thinking and behavior.

Just as depression comes in many shades, so does freedom. Crying over a beloved figure is not the synonym of acting foolish; it’s the multi-dimensional process of longing for someone or something in our emotional life. How do we motivate ourselves after a period of mourning is the next step for healing. Having an acute sense of self-awareness is something we are capable reaching. The road might get bumpy, knowing the emotional triggers are everywhere, but not everything has to be a constant torment in our lives. Don’t minimize the hurt, allow yourself some space to feel it.

The truth is of course is that there is no journey. We are arriving and departing all at the same time.

Thank you, Starman.


6 thoughts on “Ashes to Ashes: Grieving Dead Artists

  1. I wrote something similar over on my blog about losing people we have never met. I agree with you, it can be heartbreaking to lose icons who represent a time in your life, or in fact like Bowie your whole lifetime. I hope you get over the loss and can enjoy reminiscing over his legacy xx

    1. May I say I’m in love with your blog? it’s fantastic! very informative and inviting. I read your post as well, I’m glad I’m not the only one crying over dead celebrities, Alan Rickman’s death affected me a lot too, such a great actor. Thank you for commenting btw! 🙂

    1. Black star is quite an album isn’t? I’m in awe how until the very end Bowie made art out his death; his requiem if I may say. At some point I had to stop myself from listening Bowie’s records, very intense experience.

  2. First of all, how did I miss this post, Stephanie? It’s so lovely, and everything you say echoes how I feel about Bowie’s death. Just this morning, as I was feeding the dog, I got hit with a pang of sadness, and asked myself why this death is affecting me so deeply. Just a few days before he died, my family lost a dear friend to cancer, and I’m processing his death in a very similar way to Bowie’s. Tears sometimes, disbelief others, relief that he’s out of pain and in a better place sometimes too.As for Bowie’s music, I listened incessantly for days, and watched every video I could. I also listened to Blackstar multiple times with both amazement and incredible sadness. Now, though, I’m doing my best to focus on other things in life. Not trying to “get over it” but also beginning to accept the reality and be grateful that we had him for so long. I hope you’re doing better as well, Stephanie. xoxo

    1. Thank you my dear friend. I still can’t listen to “Lady Stardust” without crying. We have lost so much talent over a period of 2 weeks, I can’t get my head around it. I’m secretly awaiting for the Grammy’s in hope they organize a tribute to David.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s