Miss Debrett on... Public Mourning
The death of public figures - especially when,
as in the case of Princess Diana or Michael
Jackson, they die young - can be both
shocking and affecting. Maybe they were
people you admired greatly, following
their exploits in newspapers and
magazines. Or maybe their music, or
words, or performance came to
represent, and embody, an
important or formative
period in your life. Their
sudden death leaves a hole, makes
you feel that a little bit of yourself is missing, reminds you of your own mortality.
While these are real emotions, it is foolish to confuse them with genuine bereavement (ie the loss of a relation or close friend). Aggrandising feelings of regret for the passing of a public figure absolutely devalues the currency of true grief.
Joining in with the hyped hysteria of public mourning is a temporary aberration. Your tears over the passing of Princess Diana's funeral cortege will soon dry and life will return to normality with callous speed. Only when you experience the profound pain of a genuine loss will you realise the true artificiality of public mourning.
Miss Debrett's Top Tips
- It's quite normal to feel upset by the death of a public figure - it reminds you of your own mortality.
- Aggrandising feelings for the passing of a public figure absolutely devalues the currency of true grief.
- When you experience the profound pain of genuine loss, you'll realise the true artificiality of public mourning.