Last evening, I published a personal tribute for Prince. It is titled Farewell Sweet Prince: The Death Of Prince Rogers Nelson. It took me five whole days to be able to put some thoughts together. I started and restarted a piece that I wanted to put out into the universe to share my own personal story with the world.
Five days. Five whole days and it still is lacking something. I don’t care if people like it or not or even if anyone reads it. I just felt like I had to write about my feelings as I am grieving the loss of this man.
The passing of Prince was a big deal to me. I’m shocked and confused. I loved Prince. Did I know him personally? Sort of. He put himself out there artistically. Physically, no. We didn’t hang out. Still, his death affected me. I am sad. I am disappointed. The world lost a wonderful, decent and beautiful human being.
I hate it when anyone passes away. Celebrity or not. It’s sad. I feel badly for anyone who is grieving for the loss of a loved one. It’s such a horrible thing to have to face.
I also hate it when people voice their often loud and nasty opinion of who they think is and isn’t worthy of my grief. Somewhere, people became opinionated about this. There is apparently a list of groups of people who are and aren’t worthy of our sorrow.
I agree, it’s sad and tragic when a member of our military is killed. I also agree that it’s sad and tragic when a police officer is killed in the line of duty. I think we all know where I stand on law enforcement deaths. I’ve been involved in law enforcement for the past fourteen years.
In fourteen years, I have attended seven police funerals. Since 2003, my county alone, has lost seven officers. Eight if you want to count the K9 and I think he counts. When I was still in high school, I lost a cousin who was an Indiana State Trooper. If anyone understands the pain when it comes to law enforcement, I get it. I cried uncle a long time ago.
Who decides who I can and can’t grieve for? Just because Prince and even people like Robin Williams didn’t wear a badge or serve in the military, doesn’t mean that we can’t do special things to celebrate their lives. Or *gasp* talk about the fact that they died on television or in the media.
Locally, the city of South Bend put a tribute up on some billboards to note the passing of Prince. The billboard that I saw had three very beautiful and creative tributes. You can see them in the gallery from my post about Prince here.
The East Race/Riverwalk on the St. Joseph River is near downtown South Bend. The section of the Riverwalk just to the north and west of the East Race and past the dam has multi-colored lights that light up this area at night. On the night that Prince passed away, the entire area was lit up in purple.
It rained all day and night the day that Prince died. The whole area was lit up and it reflected off of the water. It was really beautiful and I was so happy that the city had done that. I thought it was so classy.
I should have done myself a favor and stayed off of Facebook. Later that evening, one of the local media sources posted a picture of the area on their timeline. As usual, this drew a group of “haters” who had to run their mouths and turn the whole gesture into a political platform.
I did some hard eye rolling as I scrolled through the comments.
Basically, some people were really upset because they used the lights to pay tribute to Prince but they’ve never turned the lights red, white and blue to honor the military.
It was a long and drawn out comment war that boiled down to Prince not being worthy of tribute because he’s a celebrity and he wasn’t a soldier etc. How dare the city use those lights blah blah blah!
I call this “grief shaming” and I commented on it.
I don’t want to come off as rude or harsh to anyone but I am beyond sick and tired of people telling other people what they are allowed to feel or not feel based on their opinion of what someone else was worth.
Get over yourselves.
As a woman who has grieved the loss of murdered friends and a family member who were killed just going to work, I am not offended by the city’s decision to throw some tributes up on a billboard or their decision to illuminate the St. Joseph River in purple lights.
To be fair also, the city has done a lot to pay tribute to our fallen officers and firefighters. Let’s be real here. There have been parades, billboards, media coverage and other mentions at events etc. These events are even recalled on anniversary dates.
Also, I pay taxes in St. Joseph County, Indiana. I paid for the roads, that particular bridge, those purple lights etc and so on. So if you want my endorsement somewhere to give my permission of our precious purple lights for the night, you’ve got it.
People, don’t be ashamed if you’ve shed a thousand tears for your beloved artist. It isn’t about publicity or recognition. It’s about what you feel in your heart and soul. If you want to express that by talking about it on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat Instagram AND your WordPress blog, then do it.
Pay no attention to the people who are so wrapped up in their own negativity that they can’t get past themselves. They don’t get to pick and chose what you feel and who you feel it for.
We mourn the loss of “celebrities” because they are more than just famous people to us. They are the ones who help us get through our day to day lives. They inspire us to push forward. They are our rocks. They get us out of bed. They are the shoulder to cry on. They make us feel happy and sometimes brave. They created the soundtracks of our lives. Our inspiration. They tag along with every single step we take in our lives and they are a part of it.
Who wouldn’t feel sad to lose someone who was a part of that?
Prince touched a lot of people through his work. He donated his money to various music programs all across the country in addition to other causes. He was a generous man, kind, unapologetic, and beautiful. We were lucky to have him and it’s a shame that he had to go.
It’s only my opinion but I think that he was worthy of our grief.
In other news, I am rocking out to my collection of Prince ( and company ) on iTunes. Right now it’s on “Controversy”. There is a thunderstorm making some noise and a phenomenal lightning show happening. It all just seems so fitting for the moment.