I am always deeply suspicious when I see a mass of mourners for a famous person.
When Princess Diana died in a car crash- I saw the tragedy of a woman who was in the middle of her life, a mother of two boys who needed her, a daughter , a friend, gone forever. But that was pretty much it.
Was it more tragic because she was a beautiful princess? Sorry Walt Disney, no.
Was it more sad because she did so much good? Perhaps.
Was it more sad because she had sadness herself? We all have sadness.
I did not feel more sadness than I would if a mother that I knew died young and tragically.
With Whiney Houston dying, I see the same thing. People flocking, sobbing, watching, mourning, naming their children Whitney. Dedicating hours to this. Some say “stupid woman”. Some say “fallen angel”. All are consumed by grief. I am sorry I don’t feel it. It hit me with sadness but it did not linger. I have people I know to worry about. Yes, She is a woman my age- so far too young, voice of an angel- yes, but so?
It may have killed her to have so much talent and not enough strength to handle that gift. But it is not for us to speculate.
It is not more sad to me than starving children, the oppressed, the mentally ill, the chronically sick. It is not like someone you love dying.
(don’t get me started on how sad the world was when Klum and Seal split up.)
This is where the obsession about people we don’t know freaks me out.
Sometimes it is true that we cry at something sad because we can’t cry for ourselves. Sometimes we cry for the loss that is represented.
But I get this sneaky feeling always that this crowd is crying harder for a stranger than they would for their close people. I feel they are confusing intimacy and what that person represented.
You did not know them. They were not family. How do they take up so much space in your heart? I have other uses for that very crowded square footage.
They were not ‘better than”, they are not more important than your neighbour, your friend, your family.
Bottom line – if it were you in that coffin- they would not be at your funeral. They would not cry. You were not close. They never spent 1/2 the night talking about you at a dinner party. They were not your family. This is not love.