Celebrity Deaths

kobe-bryant-gianna

Today the world is mourning the loss of basketball superstar Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and 7 others who died in a helicopter crash yesterday. Personally, I am not a sports fan, so I didn’t feel much emotionally in connection to Kobe, although I empathize with the loss that his family, friends, fellow players, and fans feel, and always feel sorrow at the loss of children who barely got to live.

When celebrities die, I’ve often heard people complain about all the fuss they get. About how we act like they matter more than any other person who lives and dies. People complain about the adulation celebrities receive after their death, while “real” heroes like soldiers, firefighters, police officers, emergency workers, and others die without much recognition at all.

While I understand this sentiment, I think the reason that celebrity tragedies get so much attention isn’t because we truly think their lives are worth more than anyone else’s, but because so many people feel like they actually know them. If we are fans of their art or achievements, we feel a bond with them, even if we have never met.

I know I felt this way with Michael Jackson, Robin Williams, and Alan Rickman. I loved their work, their personalities, even their flaws to some extent. It felt like there was a relationship between us, even though there wasn’t. Thinking about their deaths still makes me sad because I miss them, just like I miss my father and sister who have passed on.

I believe this feeling can even occur with people who died before we were born. I feel like I know Vincent Van Gogh, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, and John Lennon in intimately real ways, when obviously I didn’t (unless I lived previous lives, but that is another topic altogether lol).

Who are some celebrity deaths that you felt deeply?

Is suicide an unforgivable sin? A bit of hope for those left behind.

Overdose

I am feeling impressed tonight to share something very personal….which is kind of odd because what I feel I should share actually happened over a year ago. However, I just feel very strongly that I am being asked to share this and hope that maybe it will help someone somewhere who is dealing with the loss of a loved one due to suicide.

Now, first off, I want to say that coming from a conservative Christian family, I was always taught that suicide was a sin that would get you sent straight to hell. It was murder and since you would die from the action before you could repent of it, you were out of luck if you later regretted it. Personally, I always doubted this belief, but when my sister committed suicide almost two years ago, these thoughts did make me worry about what would happen to her. I hoped and prayed that God would have mercy on her since she had been in horrible physical, emotional and mental pain at the time of her overdosing, but I didn’t really know what she was thinking or feeling the night she took far too many pills and then went to bed never to wake up again. I still wonder if she really knew she would die from her actions or was just desperate to rid herself of the pain, but I don’t know for sure and probably never will.

Anyhow, the incident that really affected me and made me feel that she was ok happened about 6 months or so after her death. I had already dreamed of her many times, odd dreams of doing routine stuff like shopping together or fighting like when we were kids. None of my dreams of her were realistic or made sense in the waking world…until the night I went to sleep and had the following dream:

When the dream began, my sister and I met in a huge hall or maybe an entranceway to some building that I didn’t recognize. When we saw each other, it was like we could communicate telepathically. I knew she was dead. She knew she was dead. Both of us knew how she had died and what it had done to those she left behind. She apologized to me, the most heartfelt apology I have ever gotten. She explained how she never meant to hurt me or her other loved ones. She admitted that she made a huge mistake and regretted it.

At that point, I asked her what had happened to her. I will never forget her answer. She told me that God was so much more loving and forgiving than we could even imagine. That God forgave her and was giving her a chance to work it out and try to make things better. It shocked me to hear these things since my sister wasn’t a Christian or religious in the conventional sense. She had always had curiosity about God, but had pushed religion away due to the strict and overly judgemental religious upbringing we had as kids. She never explained exactly what God was having her do, but just that he was giving her the opportunity to make up for her mistakes in some way.

At that point, we hugged and it felt so good. It felt like her. It smelled like her. I had all the senses that I normally have while awake. After we hugged, she just kind of dissolved into light and was gone and the dream ended. In the morning, when I awoke, I can not even describe the kind of relief this experience gave me. It brought me closure and gave me the chance to say goodbye. To me, it will always be more than a dream, but I realize it is easy to be skeptical when you haven’t experienced something like this yourself. Anyhow, I just hope that maybe this simple but meaningful experience of mine may encourage or comfort others going through similar things. Please feel free to leave a message below if you have anything to say on this topic.

Goodbye 2013…a summary of my life this past year

"Facing the Storm" ACEO mixed media artwork. Kind of how I felt this year!
“Facing the Storm” ACEO mixed media artwork. Kind of how I felt this year!

Hmmm….so 2013, how was it? How about I just sum it up with 5 highlights and 5 lowlights?

Highlights:

1. Hubby finished his master’s degree and now he has lots more time to spend with me and do fun stuff 🙂

2. My husband took a break from ministry. That has relieved a lot of stress off of him (and me) and it also gave us the freedom to pursue our own spiritual growth and the chance to get to know some pretty cool people at other churches.

3. Although in foster care, my nephew has ended up with a great foster family who makes sure to keep us connected to him.

4. I have really focused on my art this year and it has paid off! Literally! Now people actually pay for my art and display it in their homes. I couldn’t be prouder. I want to say an extra-special “Thank You” to all who have supported me and my art.

5. Getting an actual diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome….it explains so much that I never understood all my life and has helped me see what I need to work on and how to more efficiently use my gifts.

Lowlights:

1. Health issues! Fibromyalgia, migraines, IBS, MRSA, shingles, infections, severe allergic reactions, sprains & strains, Tietze’s, nasty viruses…

2. My nephew’s dad dying. Such a very sad event, especially since it made my nephew an orphan.

3. Some very hurtful words from people I thought I could trust and who I thought supported me. I’ve forgiven, but it still hurts, especially when one of those people continues to be routinely unkind.

4. My hubby’s job hunt. We could really use the extra money from a higher position, but due to my hubby’s own health problems this year, it could be a blessing in disguise that he hasn’t found a new position yet. Still hoping he finds one soon though!

5. PTSD. Between losing my grandfather to cancer, my sister to suicide, feeling powerless to help my nephew, finding out I have a lifelong disability (Asperger’s), chronic health issues and being mistreated by people who may not have realized how much their words and actions affected me…I have had a hard time coping the last couple years. However, I do feel that I am slowly digging my way back to the surface and hope that I will continue to heal over time.

Well, that is my year in a nutshell. I hope you all had a great year and that 2014 brings even better things for all of us!

Feeling helpless and frustrated

It’s been a hard day as a foster parent.  Today our foster child went to his father’s funeral, and he has pretty much been crying nonstop all day since.  I want so much to take the pain away but I can’t.  I wish I could replace his parents and give him everything he never got from them, but it’s not possible to turn back time. 

I hope that someday he will see that even though he has lost a lot, he still has people who care about him deeply and would do anything in their power to make his life better.  Of course, we can’t raise the dead or make a deadbeat parent step up to the plate and do their job.  I wish we could, but we can’t.  At times like this, I wonder how much we can help at all.  I guess at least he knows that we care and are here for him.