Speaking Up About Grief: Volume 3

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


In recent months on WYG, we have made a habit of highlighting celebrities who talk about grief and loss.  Why?  Because in between celebrity sex tapes, best-dressed lists, and scandalous break-ups, there are many celebrities who are doing something good with the limelight by drawing attention to issues.  Sometimes it is an environmental cause, a disease, or social need.  And sometimes it is a simple as talking about grief and loss.  Though this may seem a small thing, we would argue it is actually huge!  Talking about grief is hard.  It isn’t an accepted part of our culture.  It takes strength.  By speaking up, they are slowly but surely contributing to the efforts to change our aversion to speaking up about grief.  They remind us that grief is real; that it touches everyone.  They remind us that we shouldn’t be ashamed, or quieted, or embarrassed.

Rick Warren

For the reasons above, we were especially impressed with Rick Warren’s candor in talking about the death of his 27-year-old son to suicide this past month.  Warren may be a polarizing figure now and again, but his strength in discussing his son’s mental illness, suicide, and his family’s grief in the letter to his congregation and his subsequent posts on Facebook and Twitter is something any griever can relate to.  Though he has avoided direct media, it is worth reading the letter to his congregation and this article about his use of Facebook and Twitter as he grieves.   He and his wife have also set up a fund and petition in memory of their son to raise awareness about mental illness.  Suicide is an especially hard loss to talk about, because of a heightened stigma.  With religious beliefs around suicide, this can make it even harder.  We commend Warren for trying to raise awareness while talking about his own loss.

Marie Osmond

Marie Osmond talks candidly about her son’s suicide.

Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams has talked about the death of Heath Ledger in a number of interviews.  What I like so much about this clip is her insightful discussion about how moving away from our acute grief can be difficult, as well as her honesty in discussing her inability to find meaning in the loss.  Overdose deaths carry their own stigma and shame and we commend Michelle Williams for talking about her loss.  We also love that she doesn’t feel the need to pretend she has found meaning when asked the question.

Carol Burnett

Having recently finished her book on the death of her daughter, that highlights many of her daughter’s struggles with addiction and illness.  She talks about her own grief and how writing helped her in her grief.  As supporters of writing as a means to explore grief, we loved this clip.  As supporters of opening the discussion about grief, loss, and addiction we think it is doubly important.  So thanks to Carol Burnett for sharing her complex celebrity grief.

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3 Comments on "Speaking Up About Grief: Volume 3"

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  1. Wayne Wittenberg  December 11, 2019 at 6:14 am Reply

    The further I read, the more the better your content is.

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