As I read of the passing of actor Kristoff St. John this morning, I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. I was stunned and a little numb. As an avid viewer of CBS’ The Young and the Restless, I’ve watched him since the day he made his debut almost 30 years ago. And prior to that on The Bad News Bears, The Cosby Show, and Generations. I felt like a family member had died. Why? Because not only have I watched him on-screen for so many years, I knew of his personal struggles since his 24 year old son Julian committed suicide in 2014.
Rest in peace, Kristoff St. John. 🕊️ Thank you for sharing your kind soul and immense talent with everyone. Neil Winters will always be an iconic character. I have such fond memories as a soap fan during the 90s. #YR pic.twitter.com/PTj8CPAfXK
— Steph 💫 (@StarryLilac) February 4, 2019
I have been a huge lover of all things entertainment my whole life. I’ve found myself feeling this type of grief many times in my 40 plus years when learning about a celebrity’s passing. River Phoenix, Aaliyah, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, Tupac, Michael Jackson, Prince, Whitney Houston, JFK Jr., Princess Diana. Young, talented individuals who all died tragically. There are many others that I could list, but these are some of the ones that really affected me. I can tell you exactly where I was when I heard the news about each one of the aforementioned.
While many lean into their grief, others are surprised to experience a strong personal reaction: I didn’t know him, some have thought, so why am I this upset?
With a strong need to channel my feelings, I went straight to my blog template to write a post. And I googled what was going on in my head and my heart. According to an article on HuffPost.com, my reaction is normal. It states, “A beloved Hollywood star’s death can be a shock many don’t expect. While many lean into their grief, others are surprised to experience a strong personal reaction: I didn’t know him, some have thought, so why am I this upset?”
David Kaplan, of the American Counseling Association, says, “The truth is, there’s no rulebook when it comes to grief. The emotion is so swallowing and vast that it’s hard to pinpoint why it manifests in the ways that it does. But just because we can’t explain grief doesn’t mean it’s invalidated, and that especially goes for grieving a celebrity.”
…or because a celebrity death can also remind us of our mortality.
“We grow up with these people,” Kaplan told HuffPost. “We see their movies, we hear their music on a regular basis and we really get to know them. In a sense, they become a member of our family — especially the ones we really like — so when they die, it’s like an extended member of our family dies. It’s somebody we feel like we know.”
“These deaths also feel so personal because they resonate with us on a deeper, psychological level. We may grieve celebrities because our dream was to emulate their career path or because a celebrity death can also remind us of our mortality,” says Kaplan.
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— The Lifeline (@800273TALK) January 16, 2019
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Grief is the normal and natural reaction to significant emotional loss of any kind. There are over 43 different life experiences that produce grief. It’s not just death. Divorce. Retirement. Moving. Pet Loss. Financial Change (Increase or Decrease). Empty Nest. End of Addiction. Loss of Health. Loss of Safety. Loss of Faith. Loss of Fertility. We grieve for everything. Unresolved loss is cumulative and cumulatively negative. Time does not heal all wounds. To find out if unresolved grief still has a stronghold on your life, click on this link to obtain my FREE resource — http://bit.ly/2s0eog7. If you’re ready to complete the emotional pain you’ve been holding onto for years, click this link — https://bit.ly/2EALWtH — to schedule your breakthrough session today! I can help you move from grief to gratitude. #griefrecoverymethod #giveyourselfpermissiontogrieve #startlivingnotjustexisting #fromgrieftogratitude
Thanks for listening,