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Brought up Dec 1, 2013

Grieving Celebrity Deaths... Why?

Last night, I had just barely returned home from picking up my son at work and taking him to his place (he recently moved into his own pad), when he called me. I was prepared to say, wait til morning, figuring he had forgotten something, and well, it's 8 miles to his place. I really didn't feel like driving back out there.

His first words were, "Mom, I need you to do me a favor." As I drew a breath to give my excuses for not driving back out there, knowing he would talk me into it, he continued. "I need you to go online and see if it's true." He was in such a state, I could hear it in his voice, that I had to tell him to calm down and tell me what was wrong.

One of his buddies had told him that Paul Walker had died.

Now, many of you know that my son is a tuner, gear head, basically, a car junkie. The boy can glance at a car and tell you its make, model, year, engine size... followed by whether, his opinion, if it's worth driving or just a hunk of junk.

Paul Walker has been one of my kid's few idols as far as famous folk go. He admired the actor not for his acting, but for the fact that the guy was a professional driver who did his own stunts in the Fast and Furious movies. The boy has all of the movies on DVD and sits back watching them like other guys his age probably watch porn.

I went online, figuring it was another one of those hoax things going around, only to find the story carried by some of the more prominent news pages.

It was true.

At the oh so young age of 40, Paul Walker had indeed been killed in a fiery car accident. When I told him, yes, the actor was dead, my son said simply, "I gotta go cry now, mom. Bye."

This morning, as I was driving him to work, all he wanted to talk about was the accident. The real sorrow on the young man I call a brat's face was almost unbearable. I listened, even got a bit teary, as he talked of the actor.

When I got home, I went on line to do some research. I have often wondered why the death of celebrities affect some of us so. I am one of the worst, but my son rarely becomes interested in the famous, much less mourns their deaths. Me? I sobbed like a baby when Princess Di was killed, even shed a few tears over MJ. Patrick Swayze? Man, I still get a prickle in the eyes.

But why?

So, I Googled.

In the midst of a lot of bs from so called experts, I think I got a few answers.

We think we know these folk because they entertain us. They become part of our life stories through the different media forms. We see their comings and goings, their life choices, good and bad, (Damn, Miley, what were you thinking, child?) and they sort of become fringe family, like distant cousins you hear from periodically.

Paul Walker's death has, and will have in time to come, a profound affect on my son. He mentioned that the actor had a 15 year old daughter who had just come to live with him. "She's gonna grow up without him, now." My kid said. He is truly heartbroken over the death of his hero.

I understand a bit more now why I sobbed myself to sleep when, as a young teen, Freddie Prinz and John Lennon died way too soon. I always thought I was a little weird for grieving over people I never knew. I sort of get it now.

The 'experts' claim that we see that we are all mortal, that death does not skip over any human being, even the rich and famous. Maybe.

I think that we become attached to these people for many reasons. Mostly, we admire them because they are something we secretly long to be, loved and adored for what they do.

Maybe, my kid has few of these attachments because he IS adored for just being him, and knows it.

Maybe, I have so many because I... never mind.

Anyway, a handsome, talented young man is gone from the world. Those who did know him have been heard sharing their grief on the web, tweeting, etc... I for one am grateful that they are. I know my kid is, too. He was particularly moved by the actor Tyreese, quoting his tweet, "I can't believe I'm writing this..." Yeah, I get that feeling, too.

Paul Walker, gone way too damned soon. I wish my kid could have met you just once. He admired you so much. RIP to one more I never knew but felt I did just a tiny bit...


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