Yesterday, the news reported that Cilla Black – one of the UK’s ‘national treasures’ of entertainment, had died. The Media was ‘shocked and saddened’ by the news. Then social media saw a flurry of posts as people shared their own ‘shock’ at her death.
Cilla? Dead? That cannot be? Even Bruce Forsyth said he was shocked… perhaps because being 87 himself, he considers her to be far too young. Yes, the news of any death is sad – deeply, deeply sad, often devastating and my thoughts were with Cilla’s family and friends who will mourn her. But shock? No.
‘Shock’ is a damaging word to use and I feel the Media plays a big role in how we interpret death. It seems we believe we will all live forever, or that for anyone to die before they reach 100 is a travesty. I find it interesting that people act so surprised about death, especially in someone who is considered old (i.e. a pensioner).
I liked Cilla and have fond memories of watching her on TV as a child.
She was ‘just’ 72. Many people feel that is still so young; some of us have parents or relatives who are that age or older so news like this always brings it home how close death can be. But anyone who has lost someone younger than this will wish their loved one had a chance to live that long, not ‘just’ 72 years.
I was surprised by the news, not shocked.
My first thought was what a great life that woman had, and now she can rest in peace with her beloved Bobby and her lost baby daughter, Ellen.
My daughter died when she was 12. Cilla had 60 more years of life than her. 60!
Also in the news last week was the more shocking news that Stuart Baggs, a former contestant on the Apprentice, had been found dead at his home. He was 27. That, to me, is pretty shocking but even still, I now know to my cost that these things happen.
Perhaps it’s only those who have known child loss or experienced the death of someone young can truly appreciate my perspective, which I expect seems cold-hearted (though that’s not my intention). As soon as Abi died, I was immediately thankful for every year I’ve had no matter how ‘shitty’ I thought some of it was.
I looked at much older people and realised they were lucky to live as long as they have. And I find it very hard to tolerate anyone who moans or create dramas out of trivial things. Life looks very different to a bereaved parent.
That’s not to say that if someone I knew or who was close to me died I wouldn’t be shocked, of course I would. But my perspective of that death would be different to how it used to be. Because, now, I know that death will happen to everyone – not that it can happen to anyone – at any age, suddenly or slowly. And, when elderly relatives pass on, I would like to think that I would mourn them and pay my respects to the life that they lived and enjoyed rather than dwell on my shock.
Live is a privilege!