Wow...today death surrounded us, didn't it? Farrah and Michael with Ed yesterday, these celebrity deaths all seem to come in threes, don't they? All 3 of these icons...for each surely each was an icon of pop culture in their own right...had it all, at least at one time. Fame, Fortune and Fans.
Then why as I sit back and contemplate each of their deaths do I feel such pity for each one of them? Why does this day bring such sorrow to mind?
I wouldn't trade my relatively mundane existence for any of the three of their lives...lives filled with money woes and bankruptcy fears, drug addiction and unhealthy, angry relationships.
Lives of desperation.
Yes, each of these individuals had their time in the sun, they were adored and admired by millions. Their deaths are mourned by the world, and by individuals as if they somehow knew them personally...for once someone comes into your home via radio or TV every day for years and years it creates a false sense of connection...as false as the lives they lived.
Of the 3, Michael saddens me the most. This poor, pitiful manchild whose very life was ruined by exploitative parents and an explosive talent that was abused by others. How could he possibly have EVER led a normal life? That was taken from him in childhood when he had no choice of his own, and by the time he reached adulthood the damage had already been done...his perspective was already so skewed it would be impossible for him to view the world as anything other than dangerous. It is no wonder at all why he would choose to retreat as an adult to a childhood he was denied.
Their lives were tabloid fodder, often not of their own choosing but sometimes very much manipulated for their own benefit.
We all have messy lives, we all have imperfect families, we all make mistakes. We don't all have it played out on the 6:00 news, we don't all have a 3 ring circus upon our death.
My life, such as it is, is a good one, a solid one. It is not perfect, and were it to be played out in the tabloids there would probably be little of interest but surely there would be something that could be dug up and placed on display that would embarrass or shame me.
Sadder still, should we want to get introspective for a moment, is that we all played a part in their demise. We purchased their albums and their posters, we watched their shows nightly, we fanned the flames of fame hunger and then like rabid animals we turned on them, making them the brunt of our jokes and declaring them "freaks" and "losers" as we took great pleasure in watching the disintigration of their lives. Think I am wrong? How about Jon and Kate and the delight most are taking in ripping this family to shreds as it literally implodes in front of millions of viewers each week. No, we are not innocents in all of this, if there wasn't a market for it, there would be no fame.
What was missing for all 3 of these human beings? Some would say "Nothing, they had it all!". Others, like myself, would shake their heads sadly and reply "God...God was missing, in whatever form it might have taken for each individual. They began to believe their own "spin" and see themselves as God-like.".
Our spiritual lives give us meaning, provide us with purpose, create a map for who we want to be and where we want to go in this world. We are lesser people without a sense of the Divine, even though contrarily without it we build ourselves up to be larger than life. When we allow ourselves to think "small" and not build elaborate pedestals to place ourselves upon, we gain so much, for it is then when we are on the same level with everyone else that we can share in our humanity with one another.
I think of the heartache experienced in the lives of these three people. Loneliness beyond anything you and I hopefully have ever experienced, mistrust of others who are out to use you...not because of paranoia but because they are legitimately out to use you! The pain of being disconnected from family and loved ones due to fallings-out which last years. The frustration of being held hostage to drug addiction which can't seem to be broken free of.
Why can I not recall the glamour of their former lives tonight? I watched Farrah like every one else on her one season of Charlie's Angel's, one season on TV which forever cast her in the role of "Hollywood Babe" and from which she never really moved forward to a more meaningful career short of a couple of made-for-TV movies. Ed whose voice I still recall when laying in my bedroom down the hall when my parents stayed up late to catch Johnny. And then there is Michael, whom I literally grew up dancing and singing to daily in my teens, who ushered in modern day MTV and videos and moonwalking...and walking freakshows in the later years.
They each lost themselves along the way, wandering souls searching for the one thing they could never find in Hollywood. Peace was forever elusive as they continued to live in that plastic society. I know, I lived near enough my entire childhood to see how it stretched to those non-celebrities who felt they too were denied their rightful place because they didn't have the stretch limos, the million dollar homes, the jetsetting to tropical islands. Oh how easy it is to fall prey to such thinking!! How much easier it must be when others feed it, when you begin to believe your own hype and lose your sight in the process!
Perhaps in death Ed, Farrah and Michael will finally know peace. Perhaps not.
It sure was a high price to pay for being labelled an "Icon".