Celebrities Speaking Up About Grief: Volume 14

Books, Movies, and Music / Books, Movies, and Music : Litsa Williams

Okay, I am officially the worst at keeping up with this series.  I looked back to see when the last volume came and it was in 2015!!  What can I say?  I’m sorry.

Luckily this week there was a lot of celebrity grief news and comments, prompting us to revitalize this series. We realize that your twitter feed may not be filled with all sorts of griefy blogs and outlets like ours is, so we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss any of the great ways celebrities have been speaking up about grief lately.

Patton Oswalt On Grief

If you have heard anything about celebs and grief this week, our guess is that it was about Patton Oswalt’s facebook post about coping with the death of his wife.  His wife died very unexpectedly back in April and Patton shared his thoughts on the first 102 days since her death.  You really should check out the whole post, but here is a little teaser to motivate you.

“If you spend 102 days completely focused on ONE thing you can achieve miracles. Make a film, write a novel, get MMA ripped, kick heroin, learn a language, travel around the world. Fall in love with someone. Get ’em to love you back.

But 102 days at the mercy of grief and loss feels like 102 years and you have shit to show for it. You will not be physically healthier. You will not feel “wiser.” You will not have “closure.” You will not have “perspective” or “resilience” or “a new sense of self.” You WILL have solid knowledge of fear, exhaustion and a new appreciation for the randomness and horror of the universe. And you’ll also realize that 102 days is nothing but a warm-up for things to come”.  

Click here to read more.

Sheryl Sandberg Scores A Grief Book Deal

Thirty days after her husband’s death, Sherly Sandberg wrote a pretty great facebook post on grief.  Like many others who read it, we awed at the raw honesty of her words and her amazing perspective only 30 days out from her loss while knowing that, sadly, things were only going to get harder for her before they got easier.  If you missed that post back in June of 2015, you should go check it out now.  As a reminder, this was the post where she famously said:

“I can’t even express the gratitude I feel to my family and friends who have done so much and reassured me that they will continue to be there. In the brutal moments when I am overtaken by the void, when the months and years stretch out in front of me endless and empty, only their faces pull me out of the isolation and fear. My appreciation for them knows no bounds.

I was talking to one of these friends about a father-child activity that Dave is not here to do. We came up with a plan to fill in for Dave. I cried to him, “But I want Dave. I want option A.” He put his arm around me and said, “Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of option B.”

I remember reading that and thinking, wow, that would be a great title for a grief memoir.  Luckily that wasn’t lost on Sheryl (she isn’t COO of Facebook for nothin!), as she just announced that she will be releasing a book on grief titled “Option B”.  We are pretty excited about this and, if you aren’t excited yet, check out Sandberg’s UC Berkeley Commencement speech and you might find yourself a little more amped up for the book.

Prince Harry On The Death of Princess Diana

When we talk about collective grief, few come to mind above Princess Diana.  I was in high school at the time of her death and I remember the feeling that the world was grieving together.   Though countless tributes, memorials, and memories have been shared in the nearly two decades since her death, her sons have kept their grief private.  Princes William and Harry had said very little about the death of their mother publicly, and we had no way to know what they shared privately as a family.  A couple of weeks ago, that changed.  Prince Harry gave us all a small glimpse into the grief of his family and spoke out publicly saying, “It’s OK to suffer, as long as you talk about it. It’s not a weakness.”

Prince Harry shared his regrets that he did not speak about his mother’s death sooner.  Harry candidly explained that he had only begun discussing his mother’s death and his grief at age twenty-eight – more than fifteen years after her death.  We have long though Prince Harry was pretty great.  He has raised awareness for mental health and sexual health.  He started the Invictus Games, an Olympic-style games for wounded warriors.  He started a non-profit for children with HIV.  What’s not to love?  But, we have to say, speaking up about his experience with grief and his regrets about not being more open about it makes us love him even more!

The Olympic Refugee Team

So, this isn’t celebrity grief sharing in the traditional sense, but we would be remiss if we didn’t at least mention this incredible story.  In this year’s olympics for the first time there is a team of ten refugees competing.  Five are from South Sudan, two are from Syria, one from Ethiopia, and two are from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  All were forced to flee their countries due to war, devastation and unimaginable atrocities.  As the International Olympic Committee president stated, their space in the Olympics is a poignant reminder that,” despite the unimaginable tragedies that they have faced, anyone can contribute to society through their talent, skills and strength of the human spirit”.  When it would have been easy for the Olympic Committee to focus on the games alone, we commend them for using the Olympic Games as a platform to raise awareness for the tragedies happening around the world leaving people without homes, families split, and hundreds of thousands of people struggling with overwhelming grief.  You can find many videos online about the Refugee Team, but below is one featuring some of the refugees from South Sudan.

Seen any celebs speaking up about grief lately?  Leave a comment to let us know!  And, as always, subscribe over on the sidebar to get all of our new posts right to your inbox. 

Let’s be grief friends.

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