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Missed, and Never Fully Gone

As The Ivey serves more and more individuals living with dementia, it stands to reason that we also experience more losses throughout the year. We think about our friends often and miss them all the time.

And with 2015 disappearing into the distance of our rear view mirror, we move into the new year with full hearts, honoring those we have recently lost.

For many, the “In Memoriam” segments also produced during this time of year (known to some as “awards show season”) is the part of events like The Oscars that people anticipate the most. When a celebrity passes away, it’s jarring. As a society, they become such a part of our cultural landscape that we sometimes assume that they will always be with us.

Perhaps this is because they are presented to us through mediums other than IRL (“in real life”). We see them on the silver screen, hear them on our car radios, even welcome them into our homes by way of our televisions. The work they do moves us emotionally, touches us deeply, and adds to the language of our life.

And so they become real to us. Like an acquaintance, they show up from time to time with their voice, their lines, their lyrics, their looks. Hello there, Favorite Actor. Great to see you again. It’s been a while.

So when we wake up to the news that Natalie Cole or David Bowie or Alan Rickman or Glenn Frey has left us – as happened with all of these beloved figures recently – we are often sideswiped with a feeling of surrealism.

And once the disbelief wears off, sometimes we actually feel sad. Some even depressed. After all, they were a part of our life, and now they aren’t.

But wait…

They are.

This is one of the beautiful gifts given by these remarkably talented humans. They become immortal through their gifts and their works. Frey and Cole left behind catalogs of great recordings, including a certain unforgettable one that Natalie did along with her Dad’s voice. Rickman continued gracing us with his acting and directing talents in recent years. Even Bowie left us one final album just prior to his departure. So we can continue to revel in their genius through their enduring bodies of work.

And these losses also represent more opportunities to exercise gratitude in our lives. After all, as one widely-circulated tweet expressed: “If you’re ever sad, just remember the world is 4.543 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie.”

Godspeed, famous friends.

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