It may just be me, but 2016 was rough on the celebrity crowd.
It seemed like, for the last 52 weeks, two or three names of people I’d known by watching on TV, through reading their books, or listened to on the radio at some point were crossed off the list. Upwards of 200 well-known names were removed including, most recently, Carrie Fisher, and her mother, Debbie Reynolds.
I hope that’s the most recent, at least.
At any rate, over the last few months, I’ve been thinking about the Future. Not about flying cars or moon colonies or what have you, but about if or why I’ll be mourned when I’m gone (I’m not sick, mind you).
Will people remember that I wrote?
Will people remember that I was close with my family?
Will people remember me as someone who tried?
Will people remember me at all?
I think we celebrate people who left legacies behind – tangible evidence of their existence – because by celebrating that, touching that, we matter. And we all get caught up in the legacy we leave behind, be it our children, a great work of art, a great discovery, or some political achievement, because we want to matter to the world around us.
The celebrities who have died this year – while no more tragic than anyone else’s death – left something behind in their varied works. We honor how that work made us feel.
And to the countless regular people who died this year, people we knew and loved, people we observed casually in passing, we are their legacy, for they have touched us as well.
As we close out 2016, let us try to remember that we are all connected and we all affect everything we come across.