Photo by Tim Mossholder from Pexels
2016 was the year Bryon died.
2016 was also the year of a lot of celebrity deaths.
I have very little recollection of which celebrities died that year. 2016 was a bit of a blur to me.
~Kerry’s 2016 recap~
~pretend there is a dream transition sequence like they had in 1980’s sitcoms~
The first three months were pretty normal. It was winter. We went on a cruise. My daughter got an ear infection, pinkeye and hand, foot and mouth disease each about a week apart. I got pink eye and viral pharyngitis. Bryon did not get pink eye. I started running again and signed up for a half marathon. And Bryon and I watched a lot of 2016 presidential debates.
Then I spent five months splitting my time sitting next to my husband in an ICU room while he clung to his life and waiting in waiting rooms while he was taken off to procedures. I cried a lot. I prayed and waited. Lots of people would bring me iced coffee that I subsisted on. My daughter got another ear infection and we discovered she was allergic to amoxicillin because she broke out in hives.
Then Bryon died.
The biggest before and after moment of my life.
The last four months of 2016 I cried a lot and wondered what the f*ck just happened to my life.
~dream transition sequence~
I vaguely remember a lot of celebrities died. However I can only remember three.
While we were on our cruise, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died.
Are Supreme Court Justices considered celebrities? They are famous but does famous = celebrity? That is a philosophical point I will have to ponder when I should be doing something more productive. Though I do see a lot of fanfare for Ruth Bader Ginsburg on my Facebook Newsfeed so for the purpose of this blog post, Supreme Court Justices will be considered celebrities.
Bryon loved and respected Justice Scalia. One time Bryon was telling me about a certain Bar that you can get admitted to where you can argue cases in front of the Supreme Court. If I remember correctly, he said, if admitted, one of the best things was that his name would be read in front of the nine Supreme Court Justices.
Bryon never saw Mean Girls but I told him that I could imagine him having a Regina George moment. I had to explain the whole Regina George thing to him.
Once Bryon grasped the idea of Regina George’s popularity, he agreed. He said he could totally see himself gushing “Justice Scalia sneered at me. IT WAS AWESOME.”
We took an Eastern Caribbean Cruise in early 2016. One that would be very ominous. One omen being Justice Scalia’s death, another death being Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential run. But don’t worry…I am not bitter about it. Not at all.
The second death I remember was the death of Prince. Or the artist formerly known as Prince. Did he ever go back to being Prince?
I remember that because I was following a spoof Joe Biden Facebook account and when Prince died the spoof facebook account had a condolence posted with a picture of Prince William. Bryon was aware at the point and I remember showing the meme and he smiled. Or laughed the best he could.
And the third death of 2016 I remember was Alan Thicke’s death. Dr. Seaver.
It was after Bryon was dead.
I remembered the fact that despite having a Facebook newsfeed full of Patriots fan, it was Bryon who showed me this genius video from Julian Edelman.
So yeah…I don’t remember much about who died in 2016 because one of the two most important people in my life died.
But I do remember being annoyed with seeing Facebook posts where people bemoaned the deaths of the celebrities.
Maybe these people were just paying tribute and I was blowing it out of proportion in my head.
At the time, this public grief felt disingenuous.
And I spoke up.
Yes it is sad when someone dies.
These celebrities had family and friends and their death was going to leave a much bigger whole in their lives than us average folk.
Each person has a variety of layers of relationships. The inner core will likely be your family and very closest friends. The next layer would be friends and family you aren’t close to and co-workers. The next layer after that would probably be acquaintances. Maybe you have a layer between friends and acquaintances for those people who are in that “more than an acquaintance but less than a friend” space.
Most of us have no more relationships after acquaintances. Anyone else would be a stranger really.
But celebrities have tons of people outside that layer called fans.
If you are a fan, the celebrity can hold a cherished spot in your heart but that celebrity probably has no clue who you are.
When a celebrity dies, chances are your daily life is not altered.
Maybe, but probably not.
I felt strongly about it at the time. But tonight, I am have to eat my words.
Admittingly, I was watching Golden Girls and thought about how sad it was that the only living one is Betty White. I don’t want to think about a world without Betty White, so I won’t.
But tonight, I read the news story about Alex Trebek getting emotional. I did not see the episode. This evening slipped away.
I found myself thinking that I need to DVR Jeopardy because we don’t know how much longer we have Alex Trebek.
I am 41 and for as long as I remember, Alex Trebek has faithfully hosted Jeopardy.
He bridges a time in my life when my grandparents were still alive and we talked on rotary phones and cable TV was a new phenomenon to the present day. If I wanted to watch him, I would actually have to walk up to the TV, which was probably small and black and white, turn a knob to get the TV to turn on and maybe even turn the dial if the TV previously was on a different channel. If I was lucky, I wouldn’t have to mess with the antenna (because the only TV that had cable was in the living room).
I work in oncology data. The best way to describe what I do is that I am the person in between the patient record and government statistics. Our data is also used in medical research.
I truly hope Alex Trebek beats the odds. But working in oncology data, I know Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer is a grim diagnosis.
I am in awe of Alex Trebek because instead of retiring, he chose to continue hosting the show. He chose to be continue to be there for us when he doesn’t have to be.
And from what I read in the news, he is tolerating chemo pretty well.
But life is fragile and illness can bring complications. Complications that we may never be prepared for.
I don’t want to think about it. So I am going to end this blog post abruptly and stew in my eaten words. And enjoy watching Alex Trebek for as long as I am able.
2 thoughts on “Eaten words”
I always agreed with you on the celebrity grief, but you have captured the “what they meant to you” perfectly. David Bowie also died in 2016, Leonard Cohen, Carrie Fisher. I still see people missing their presence. These people represent something to their fans or followers
For my husband and I, Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip (Canadian here, so more celebrity status for me) was diagnosed with glioblastoma the same exact month as my husband was diagnosed with metastasized renal cancer to the brain and lungs. We watched Downies’ last concert with a few extra tears in our eyes being unable to put my husbands own ticking clock out of our heads.
We watched John McCains funeral as well, with a bit of extra solemnity.
I still see the “slap in the face” factor all the time though. Any time anyone says their having a difficult time in life, that I would consider a treat. When people say in a half complaining way that they are “living the dream”, I most definitely want to say “Yes, yes you are, because you have a future and you, or one of your loved ones, isn’t dying.” It’s starting to get to the point where I just want to avoid people entirely because I just can not relate to the frivolity.
Anyway, I am veering off base here but you raised some good points that got me thinking.
Reading your comment made me sad to hear about your husband. I am so sorry.
But your comment made me smile. While we are (or were in my husbands case) American, we were huge Canada enthusiasts. Bryon loved The Tragically Hip. He took me to their concert at The Egg (Performing Arts Center) in Albany, NY. I had no clue who they were.