THOUGHTS OF A FRUITCAKE: By Carolyn Aldis
So, 2016 seems to be the year of celebrity deaths. Last week, it was Victoria Wood and Prince and earlier in the year, David Bowie, Paul Daniels and Ronnie Corbett were a few more that were added to this terribly sad list.
I have been mulling over these deaths and what it is about them that affects us so deeply. Grief is understandable when we lose friends and family, but celebrities are often people we have never met.
I think partly it’s because being a celebrity was so different in the 70’s and 80’s compared to today. Back then, we felt like we knew them well because there were not so many high profile ones; it was a hard industry to be in and television and cinema were the only visual mediums.
I look back at that time with a certain amount of nostalgia; huddled round a 14 inch black and white television, with my family, eating Wagon Wheels (when they were still as big as my face).
Paul Daniels was like a funny old uncle that visited every week, showing us magic tricks that wowed us, the best one being his beautiful wife…he taught us to aim high. We sat enthralled, listening to Ronnie Corbett’s stories, delivered with humour from an oversized chair…he taught us to laugh at ourselves. David Bowie and Prince, seemingly other-worldly, produced music that captured the imagination and both had unique voices and looks…they taught us to stay true to ourselves, regardless of what others think. Victoria Wood was ahead of her time, with her well observed comedy and down to earth manner…she taught us that hard work paid off and that true humility is attractive. They brought colour to our black and white lives.
This is one of the reasons why we feel so sad by their deaths. They were always there, in our lives – it feels like we have lost a close friend.
Another reason these deaths are so sad is the age…Victoria was only 62, Prince 57. They seem so young to those of us of a similar age.
When life is plodding along, everything as it should be, the same old routine, it jolts us when a life is snatched away; death makes us think about our own mortality. We are reminded that we are all unique and feel a deep sadness that there will never be another David Bowie, Ronnie Corbett or Victoria Wood.
Death serves as a reality check for us all. I have no doubt that these celebrities loved what they were doing with their lives and it makes me think “Do I love my life? Is there something I can change to make it better? Am I fulfilled in what I do?”
One of my favourite quotes is “Live every day as if it were your last…because one of these days it will be.” It may seem sobering, but think how much energy, love and joy we would squeeze into every day if we lived like this.
I believe life is meant to be lived like this…to the full, yet taking it one day at a time.