Last month we started a monthly series on celebrities speaking up about grief. If you missed it you can see our first installment here – we talked about Chelsea Handler, The Bloggess, and Joan Didion. Why have we decided to highlight celebrities talking about grief? It isn’t because we are celebrity-crazy (though I have been known to watch TMZ now and then — a tried and true personal self-care technique). It isn’t because we care who was best-dressed at the Oscars or what our favorite actresses look like without their make-up. It is because we think talking about grief is pretty important – not just for professionals and grief bloggers, but for everyone. We love when people are willing to share their experiences with loss, and we love it even more when they are people in the public eye. When celebrities talk their voices carry further and people listen up. Unfortunately that can make it even harder to speak up about tough issues – with all eyes on you it can’t be easy to talk about the pain of grief. It is our hope that with all our little voices, and a few of their big voices, we will slowly but surely make our culture just a little bit more comfortable with grief.
Anderson Cooper lost his father when he was 10 years old. His senior year of college he lost his brother to suicide. He has been open and willing to talk about these deaths, how he coped, and how it has impacted his work over the years. He has talked about it in his book, in interviews, on his show, and with other families who have lost family members to suicide. He has talked about his grief, acknowledged the stigma, and has encouraged others to do the same. Thanks Anderson Cooper!
He and his mom together talk about the death of his father, his brother, and about talking about grief. From this clip it seems we should be thanking Anderson Cooper’s mom, Gloria Vanderbilt, for normalizing grief and making him the kind of celebrity who is willing to talk about it. So thanks to you too Gloria Vanderbilt!
Lisa Niemi Swayze
Patrick Swayze and his wife were married for 34 years. After his death she wrote a book (which I have yet to read but that is on my list) called “Worth Fighting For”. She also has a blog where she shares her experience with grief in the years since her husband’s death. Plenty of posts worth checking out, but here is one to get you started: Grief S*%#s on lisaniemiswayze.com Also worth reading about is her work raising money for pancreatic cancer research, an especially evil cancer that kills 38,000 people every year with an average life expectancy after diagnosis of only 3-6 months. Have we mentioned yet today how much we hate pancreatic cancer? No? Well we hate it. A lot.
Beyonce and Jay-Z are a celebrity couple that are famous for their commitment to maintaining their privacy. Last month Beyonce’s documentary, Life is But a Dream, on HBO gave a brief glimpse into the life of the couple. Beyonce opened up for the first time about her miscarriage, talking about the moment she found out and the song she wrote immediately following the loss.
Beyonce then shared in an interview with Oprah on OWN why she made the decision to discuss her miscarriage in the documentary.
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