“OMG! Did you hear that _________ just died #RIP______?!?”
You can insert SO DAMN MANY names into that blank space, and you have the definitive question that has been ubiquitous for this entire year.
The list of famous and infamous people that our world has lost to the cold, unprejudiced hand of death is as long as the list of categories to which they belonged:
Actors, directors, authors and musicians. Heroes, leaders, sports players and coaches.
Obituaries have been prolific, and tributes to those gone are offered daily throughout all platforms of social media.
The end of this year has filled so many people with an overwhelming sense of loss that many have proclaimed it to be the worst of the worst years. Ever.
In terms of notable deaths, 2016 has been an unmitigated shit-show.
But if death is the final measure of the circle of life, why does this year seem to be the apex of loss? Perhaps it’s because we face the reality that deceit has won the most powerful job in the nation through overt hatred and division, and by reminding so many that we have to “take back” that which is perceived to be rightfully ours. Compromise and sharing are not in the lexicon, there.
Perhaps it is because we all want a minute, just…one…damn…minute to get our footing underneath us before having the rug yanked out, YET AGAIN leaving us paralyzed in disbelief. Loss upon loss upon loss upon loss.
We do not mourn because a ‘celebrity’ died, we grieve the loss of the creative, engaging and inclusive feelings they inspired.
Whether through a song, dance, or glimpse into their own humanity, they came into our lives and living rooms with a smile, a tear, or rally cry to propel us into action. They gave us hope in the midst of heartache. They spoke to our souls and gave us personal anthems.
We longed to know them, or be them. But mostly we wondered if they understood our elemental struggles.
And each time, for a fleeting moment, they whispered into our hearts,
It’s because the loss of the prolific, the creative, the VISIONARY has left us feeling utterly hopeless, we keep asking who will represent us now? Who will inspire us? Who will invite us along and let us feel like we belong?
The answer lies within us, and that it IS us.
With each other.
The ones whom we oppose.
We have the ability and interpersonal power to build a bridge. We just have to make the choice to do it.
At the risk of letting my (not-so) inner nerd show too boldly, it’s like that time in Marvel’s Avengers…the team is gathered together and pointing fingers and laying blame on each other for the impending world collapse. The bickering is relentless, and it only serves to increase the dangerous power of Loki’s staff. Here, watch for yourself:
We have become so busy with pointing out how horrible this thing or that person is, that we are missing the key lessons that the cosmos and the year of loss keep trying to teach us:
Nothing living is permanent. Don’t take anything for granted. Don’t embolden hatred with more hatred.
I want love and kindness to be the clarion call for 2017. Love, light and healing. The most definitive act of resistance to the awfulness which we decry is to not become a part of it with a negative response. Speak up, love up, and KIND UP.
There are so many people still among us who remind us of this important lesson every day.
Here are a quick few:
“Love is love is love is love is love.” ~Lin-Manuel Miranda
“I am stronger than fear.” ~Malala Yousafsai
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” ~Desmond Tutu
With that, I wish you all love, health, and prosperity in 2017.