Is it possible to mourn someone you've never met?

Is it possible to mourn someone you've never met?

I've spent a good half of my career exploring the intricacies of grief. In my e-book, Welcome to Wherever We Are , I write about coping with the grief of losing my adoring yet abusive father. In fact, in scholarly journal articles, I've written about what I know is a coach's heartache when working with students to understand issues around domestic and sexual violence, health and sickness, death and death. I did publish essays on mourning divorce. So I really spent a lot of time thinking seriously about the grief that results from relationship breakdowns and the grief associated with letting go of people that we've been very intimate with now, that we've been living with now, and with dating face-to-face was everything and expertise was minus half the connection.

Source: Kevin Estate/Unsplash

But lately I've been struggling with another question:

Is it possible to mourn someone you've never met?

I met Rebecca Winn in a most unusual way. We both launched our first books and planned and canceled field trips at what might be the worst time in publishing history – mine in February and his in March 2020. We got together. first discovered because we both shared the same summary list of The Most Likely Memoirs of 2020 . Our book covers even featured the same soothing yet playful colors: aquamarine, bright yellow and white. We had all joined writers' groups on Facebook and started communicating through non-public messages. Then, the same day, we were both interviewed by guide guru Zibby Owens for his podcast Moms Don't Have Time to Read Books.

I agreed on a name with Rebecca and we ended up talking on the phone for three hours. And we did it often. She spoke in a little Texas accent that sounded familiar to me as I currently live down south and lived in Texas years ago. During our visits, she was fiery but vulnerable, she embodied splendor and beauty, and yet she swore: I loved her right away. She pretended to stay up later than usual every time we talked, and every time she put the phone down she would venture outside and slip into her sizzling tub before crawling into bed. We hadn't met, but we knew some of each other's habits and rituals.

We immediately expressed the need to go to each other in person. Even though we never will, I can still spend time with her. Writing and various types of artistic creation leave survivors with something that will last forever. It's part of the miracle and it's called those creative acts.

In fact, shortly after learning that Rebecca had died, I went to my library and pulled her e-book off the shelf : One Hundred Daffodils: Finding Beauty, Grace, and Meaning When Things Fall Apart . And I sat down to see what that second would give me, that is, I sat down with her. The instructions have stayed by my espresso cup every day as I write. When I am interested in hearing Rebecca's voice and perspective, I open up and can hear any part of the guide. Sitting right next to me, she gives me a gentle nudge to keep writing and reminds her that she definitely would if she could, because she had another book to write.

art and mourning

One of the ways we mourn people we've never met is when a star dies whose talent could have moved and inspired us, and we now find it hard to imagine the world without their contributions. Most of us can name a musician, actor, artist, creator, dancer, comedian, etc. who passed away and whose work has influenced us, helped us through a difficult time, reminded us of someone we love or, in all other cases, nurtured and supported us. The concept that we can no longer listen to a beloved singer in concert or that we will never hear new songs from that person again can feel really painful and like a necessary thing has been taken away from us. In these cases, talent and appreciation of expertise transcend any relationship; nevertheless, a connection can be felt between musicians and listeners, actors and viewers, and authors and readers. It is the artistic creation and the sweet sensations that remain.

When celebrities die, we also mourn other variations of ourselves who feel lost or look forward to a different time in our lives. For example, when Betty White passed away, I immediately missed my father, who died nine years earlier. He loved it, and he loved the Golden Girls, so all of a sudden I was catapulted into the cave with my dad, eating pretzels or ice cream and laughing at the present, decades before we were home . When Michael Jackson, Prince and Whitney Houston died, it was like my teenage years died with them.

There are people who come alive, who attract us and whom we have never met, but their presence reminds us of who we can still be. For example, I loved going to the Ice Championships years ago, but I only went to one star skater: Surya Bonaly. Bonaly was famous for his backflip, landing on one foot, an illegal transfer into the long skate program. Even though I've never tried skating in my life, Bonaly's free-spirited methods have worked deep within me. She defied conventional advice and took the boldest and boldest steps to be authentic. These are qualities that I must have witnessed early in my writing career and remain so as I plan to compose my life. The level is that people, living or not, that we have never met can still affect who we are and what we become.

Grieving for someone you've never met is something else; it's strange. Loving someone we've never met can be completely different and strange. But in our increasingly global and technological world, these experiences are more widespread and deserve our attention.

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