Two in one week: David Bowie, who I admittedly have no emotional connections to, and Alan Rickman who played huge roles in some of my all-time favorite films.
When I read the news about Rickman this morning, tears flooded my vision and spilled down my cheeks for a lot longer than I thought was probably appropriate. My tears were for a man I’ve never met, and who never even knew I was alive.
Yet still I cried.
In Sense and Sensibility (*spoiler alert, but you should have already seen this by now), Rickman played Colonel Brandon, the older, distinguished and somewhat loner character that never gets the girl until his sweet gestures and calming demeanor finally win over the object of his affections, and she falls in love with him the way you’ve been through the whole film.
In the Harry Potter Series (*spoiler again . . . if you haven’t seen these, I can’t help you), he plays the well known, would-be villain, Professor Snape. Through the entire series you question his loyalty and are led to believe that his hatred for Harry and his loyalty to the Dark Lord have corrupted him to the fullest extent. But in the last movie, his true character is revealed in the most stunning twist in the entire series. Snape has devoted his life to protecting Harry because of his love for the boy’s mother, Lily, killed by the Dark Lord when Harry was just a baby. He had to perform despicable acts in order to maintain his cover, but he held fast to his commitment and saw it through to the very violent and heart-breaking end.
Those are just characters Rickman played, but both of them, and a few others, etched his face into my heart in a way that may not make sense to others who aren’t blessed eye roll with the super-sensitive heart that I have.
He brought to life beloved characters, and I cannot think of those books or movies without seeing him. And so, today, I feel as though those characters that live in my heart have truly died.
I won’t grieve forever, in fact, I know that my grief is but a blip compared to those who actually knew him, or those who lose loved ones every day. But I still feel that grief, and because I believe in the power of our emotions, I am allowing myself the space to grieve a man that I never actually knew.
It hurts to lose celebrities like Rickman, Bowie, Heath Ledger, Robin Williams (and on and on I could go) because they represented something important to us, they brought magic and love, music and suspense to life on our screens and they made an imprint on our hearts. Though they may have only played roles, those roles taught us things about ourselves and others, and impacted our lives in the way only great entertainers can.
If you have found yourself weeping inexplicably over the loss of such great celebrities, don’t worry, you’re normal, or at least, as normal as I am. We can grieve together in our little introverted corner while the rest of the world moves on.