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Why We Cry When Celebrities Die

why we cryThere are many different things that help all of us get through tough or trying times in our lives; things that help us dry our tears or help us to realize that there is always hope and that tomorrow is another day.

Some people find solace in reading the Bible, others find it in therapeutical articles and blogs, and many people find solace in a song or in a movie.

How many times have you scoured your playlist for that perfect song after a breakup or rented a video that will help you escape the madness in your head for a couple of hours?

In times of hardship or sorrow we seek something or someone to relate to in order to feel less alone. We find that song, book, article, or movie to help us work through whatever feelings we are struggling with at the moment, and we end up forming a sort of kinship with the artist, author, or actor who is unknowingly helping us through our tough time through their music or words.

When I heard the news that George Michael had passed away and then heard of Carrie Fisher’s passing; I couldn’t help but get a tear in my eye and feel grief run through my body. Although I had never met either of these two and never would; their deaths seemed to affect me as though we had been old friends for years.

When I was a child, finding things that made me happy and hopeful were few and far between. I latched onto anything that could put a smile on my face and make me forget the abuse I was enduring on a daily basis at home. Sometimes it was a book, an animal, the sunrise making the morning dew on the horse pasture sparkle; but most of the time, when I was feeling truly down, the only thing that could truly lift my spirits out of the gutter was a great song or a good adventure movie.

I remember running to my bedroom whenever Mom would leave the house and putting my George Michael cassette tape into my player; spinning around the room while Faith and Freedom filled my ears and brain. If Mom was going to be gone an extra amount of time, then I would run and grab a Star Wars movie and watch Princess Leia prove that a woman could be just as strong willed and powerful as any man.

Songs and movies were my escape from the daily madness I called my childhood. The people singing the songs I loved so much made me feel less alone and at times, I swore they wrote the words of the song just for me. When I saw an actress on television portraying a strong and intelligent woman; it gave me hope for my future. George Michael gave me “Faith” and Princess Leia gave me “Hope.”

So why do we cry when celebrities die? Because these people, without even knowing it, helped us through some of the toughest times in our lives. When we hear of their untimely passing, we reminisce about when we watched them on television or when we popped their tape into our cassette player. We are reminded of a tough time in our lives and feel fondness in our hearts for these people who we never met, but helped us more than our closest relatives.

We cry because their deaths close a chapter in our own pasts.

RIP George Michael

RIP Carrie Fisher

Why We Cry When Celebrities Die

Sarah Burleton NY Times bestselling author

Victoria Gigante Writes For Psych CentralSarah Burleton was born in a little town in Illinois to a very emotionally disturbed woman. Her first book, her child abuse memoir "Why Me," spent 26 weeks on the New York Times and the print version is endorsed by David Pelzer, author of "A Child Called It." Sarah is now realizing her goal in becoming an ambassador for abused children and adult survivors and is currently conducting workshops and seminars throughout the state. Her message of strength over adversity and her story will help counselors, teachers, and other professionals identify signs of abuse and learn ways to establish trust with an abused child.

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APA Reference
, . (2016). Why We Cry When Celebrities Die. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 7, 2020, from


Last updated: 29 Dec 2016
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