Someone once said (and actually, people say it often) that people die every day. My grandparents passed a long time ago, and maybe yours did, too. My husband lost his sister to suicide in 2012 and my coworker lost his sister the same way about four years ago. There is no good reason to mourn famous people, some say because regular people die every day. No one is talking about them in the media.
So what if Tom Petty died, or Prince died, or some other famous person died. What is so special about rock stars? Why do we mourn the loss of famous people so openly? What’s so great about them anyway?
Because they connect us.
When a family member dies, the family and close friends gather all around, maybe at the funeral home or the house of the closest loved one. We all grieve together for our grandmother, father or maybe a brother, aunt or dear family friend. The family is connected. Honestly, we are really grieving for us.
It’s really the same way for us commoners with rock stars and other famous people.
They interest us. They make us feel things; heighten what we feel and sometimes make it go away. They help us to trek on, to not give up and they do it with anthemic lyrics and pulse-pounding bass. They heighten our love, loss, fear, and sex.
How many times have we tried to talk to someone who just didn’t get where we were coming from? And then we hear a song and listen to the lyrics and right then we feel it. It consumes us with such fervor, that we have to play it for someone – for that someone – we have been trying to get through to for so long.
“Here. Listen to this. This is what I was was trying to tell you.”
First, we’re just tapping or humming along but then… then we listen to the words, and it hits us. This guy gets me. Tom Petty gets me. He’s been through it. He’s singing what I want to say. His music is for me; it is to help me cope with life when I don’t know what that word even fucking means.
Our rock stars feel like family. I cried hard and loud yesterday… I’d like to say that I cried for his family, for the loss they will feel now that their dear loved one has passed. But that’s not why I cried. I cried for myself. I cried as I listened to ‘Breakdown’ and countless other songs while I relived my youth and thought of all the times I wanted to give up.
But I didn’t. Music saved my life and so did Tom Petty.
Heaven is alive with the sound of music.
R.I.P. Tom Petty.