Mourning the Death Of Celebrities- A Rant

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.

St. Joseph River- South Bend, Indiana

St. Joseph River- South Bend, Indiana

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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

Farewell Sweet Prince- The Death of Prince Rogers Nelson

I grew up the baby of three children to a single mother who never stayed home. I was a shy child who preferred to play alone because sometimes other people were too hard. I often felt  judged by other children and adults. I didn’t feel accepted. I was different and it wasn’t okay. Needless to say, I was very lonely.

I did however have access to records, tapes and eventually CD’s and MTV. Specific artists and musicians became my best friends and family . Music is the invisible, yet tangible, shoulder you can cry on.  I claim it as tangible because you can feel the vibrations in your body. Yet it isn’t a “thing” you can still feel it.  It stays with you. It makes you happy, it makes you sad, it has the power to make you think. It can even make you brave.

Music helps you get through life (an electric word life). The ups and downs. The passing of time. Your  break ups, divorce, heartbreaks. The happy times too. It pushes you out of bed. It gives you the will to keep trying.  Music can inspire so many things and make you feel so much emotion.

When you grow up with favorite artists and you keep them with you, they become like a family member. I don’t know exactly how to label my personal feelings for Prince. He was just a non descriptive family member. My rock.  A role model, teacher, a shoulder to cry on. Prince helped me when no one else had the time.

Prince had the power to make me feel okay to just be human. A woman. A woman who shouldn’t be ashamed or even afraid of her body or her sexuality. A confident being who was free to be just that. Confident. He made sure I knew that there was nothing wrong with me, and that anyone who had an issue with me, just had issues.  Anytime I felt like someone had something negative to say to me or about me, I could almost here Prince telling me “Girl, there ain’t shit wrong with you.”

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Cool means being able to hang with yourself All you have to ask yourself is ‘Is there anybody I’m afraid of? Is there anybody who if I walked into a room and saw, I’d get nervous?’ If not, then you’re cool.” Prince

I have a list of memorable quotes from Prince etched into my brain. Thoughtful and witty things that he said over the years that I could apply to my own life anytime I needed to.  A lot of them, as I stated above, were related to self esteem issues and life itself. Prince was no stranger to criticism.

Prince,  without a doubt, was a creative genius and even to say that just sounds so bland and incorrect. I have had trouble coming up with better words to describe this man. The truth is that there are no words in the English language to properly describe who Prince is or was to so many of us.

I know that God was pleased with him and He has welcomed Prince home. It was evident with the brightly covered rainbow that poured over Prince’s home and studio in Paisley Park. I don’t think that it was a coincidence that it was raining that day.

As I was driving home from work that night, it was still raining. When I turned on the radio, the station was playing Purple Rain. It was towards the end of the song. The end of the song is as amazing as the song itself. It was a surreal moment.

I cried for him. Purple Rain is definitely one of my favorites, but it’s clearly not the only song he wrote. If anyone only clung to his popular releases, they’ve missed out. Prince had an impressive catalog of songs for every moment.

Just to name a few:  Controversy, Diamonds and Pearls, The Most Beautiful Girl In the World, 1999, Pussy Control, I Would Die 4 U,When Doves Cry, Gett Off, 7, Let’s Go Crazy, Pop Life, Little Red Corvette,Raspberry Beret, Thieves In the Temple, Darling Nikki.

Prince wrote songs for other artists. A lot of people don’t know that he wrote the song “Manic Monday” that was made popular by The Bangles. He also wrote “Nothing Compares 2 U” for Sinead O’Connor.

Prince made me blush on more than one occasion and I loved it. He was so exciting.  I still remember as a young person figuring out the lyrics meant, from the song, “Little Red Corvette”, when he sang “She had a pocket full of horses, Trojan, and some of them used,”

His poetry was genius ( again not the right word to describe it) and every single thing he said and wrote made perfect sense and it flowed.

Prince is no doubt , the best guitarist that we’ve known in modern times. Just ask Eric Clapton. He will tell you.  It’s also not well known that Prince played a dozen instruments, a lot of them were self taught. He also played a major role in all of his production.

He was truly original.

I can’t express how disappointed I am that he had to go so soon. I don’t have the write words to say it.  Prince was such a beautiful, talented, generous and sweet man. The world has truly lost someone special. I am grateful for the music,  the videos, his personality, the persona, the style. Everything.

Thank you, Prince Rogers Nelson for helping me get through this thing called life.

The city of South Bend, Indiana paid tribute to Prince as well. In the gallery below are a few photo’s that I took around the city. The first three were found on an electric scrolling marquee.  The fourth photo is of our East Race River Walk on the St. Joseph River.  It’s so obvious that Prince touched the lives of millions. I am grateful that others are so free to express that, without care of popular opinion. That’s how Prince would have wanted it.