The black magic when people we love die is not that we worry about them, we either believe or we don't, it is that it is a life long extension of loss. Our husband dies at 47 from cancer. We miss him for a day, a week, he is not where he used to be, his matter, atoms, presence, the space he fills that used to be near you is empty. But days become weeks become years and the absence is never filled by that persons atoms. We never glance him on the street, he is just… GONE.
And as scary and empty as that is, the real gasper is that one day, absolutely, and without a doubt, it will be our absence -our turn.
Celebrity death is different because the absence doesn't really effect us. I never met Amy Winehouse or Levon Helm. The absence of their bodies in proximity to mine is non-existence. There was never a presence to lose. So what happens with celebrity death is a way of absorbing the shocks to come (have arrived) in death but with the pain minimal. I read about people killing themselves after Lennon was murdered. But they are lunatics. The important thing to keep in mind is whatever sympathy I may find for Lennon, Adam, Dick Clark is not quite real. Since I never woke up next to Amy, I don't miss not waking up near to Amy.
In New York City, 148 people die every day. It is impossible to care unless they effect you. Oh, perhaps a baby is hit by a stray bullet in the Bronx, and you feel empathy and sympathy, but really really… life is for living. So when somebody you love dies, it is a very personal and subjective lost. A body shot. celebrity death straddles the fence between caring and not caring. Between personal loss and personal death. It might sting but it DOESN'T STING.
If you died, do you think MCA would've cared less? How could he have? Do you think Ad-Rock would today. We might grieve for dead celebrities but not for long, and we don't really mourn. In the end, since everybody you've ever known will one day die, we can't spent our lives looking for the abyss. It will reach us in its own good time.