At the end of 2016, during a period of time when a seemingly high number of celebrities passed away, I published a post on the Honcho-SFX blog regarding loss. The post – titled Loss: The Good and the Bad – addressed the fact that it was OK to feel sad when someone in the pubic eye, someone we don’t know personally, passes away.
“When a celebrity passes away it can mean many different things to many different people. For some, it simply means that someone on television is no longer with us, while for others it means that another piece of their world has been taken away – the world they created through interests, experiences and memories.
“For those of us who have grown up on the movies of Carrie Fisher, Gene Wilder or Alan Rickman, the music of David Bowie, George Michael and Prince, or the comedic stories of Victoria Wood and more, it means that the people who have been a big part of our lives, are no longer with us as we move forward. Sure, we can still watch their movies or listen to their music for as long as we wish, but it won’t be the same as watching them on live TV, or hearing them on the radio or seeing them in person at a convention or a show.
“The point of all this is that if you feel sad about the fact that your favourite performer has passed away, then it is OK to feel this way – many others are feeling this way too.
“Is it daft to feel like this? No! You can only feel the way you feel – it doesn’t matter if the next person doesn’t share the same point of view.
“People come and go – sadly this is inevitable – and while this is something we must accept and not dwell on too much, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be upset about their passing. The people who help shape us, guide us and make us feel safe and happy, can and do come from all walks of life and from all different places, even if we don’t know them personally.
“All we can do now is continue to remember the good times and continue to enjoy their contributions to our lives as we move ever forward.”
In the case of Barry Chuckle, Carrie Fisher, George Michael, Cilla Black, Robin Williams and many others, I’ve found it quite sad to hear of their passing. As a child, growing up into adolescence and even through adult years, these guys have been a part of my journey, even though they didn’t know it.
In the case of Geoffrey Hayes, I think back to the times when I was a kid, watching Rainbow and feeling happy, safe and entertained. Sure, my childhood was a long time ago now, but in my mind I can recapture that period of time instantaneously, which makes it even more difficult to wrap my head around.
The important thing I always try to remember, whenever anyone passes, is that if they made an impact, they kept me entertained or they influenced me in any way, then they’re never really gone. They may have passed on, but their legacy never dies.