Rik Mayall - death of celebrity is real grief
Posted on 9th June 2014 at 13:28
I don’t tend to have the radio on during the day. Some people find it helps them work, for me I get too easily distracted but at the moment there’s a radio on in the kitchen to help the guy building my new cupboards work and one tuned to a different station that the builder working outside has to help him through his day.
This afternoon I experienced a bigger loss than my concentration. The news came over on the kitchen radio that Rik Mayall has died and there were audible reactions from all of us. The classics all made an appearance – disbelief, shock and immediate exclamations of “but he was our sort of age wasn’t he!”
Automatically we then began a review of our relationship with the star – the characters he’d created & played, our favourite bits of his comedy that were big when we were young; talking about how he had impacted our lives through his work. This process all entirely normal and natural following a loss, even as in this case an intangible one. None of us knew this man personally, we didn’t even know him – we knew the characters and we knew he’d made us laugh. The relationship may have been one sided but it was real and so is the loss. Sure this loss is less intense than others I’ve experienced but it is still a loss.
Following fairly quickly on the heels of my personal reactions came my thoughts about those that truly loved the man himself – his widow Barbara came to my mind. Naturally enough as a widow myself I related to her loss first. Of course I know that all loss is unique, all relationships are unique and knowing something of the scale of the loss of a life partner my heart goes out to her along with all other members of his family and his personal friends. Their grief can’t be measured or compared and my heart goes out to them.
There will be many voices paying tributes over the next few hours and days, for me I’d like to repeat my favourite quote of his – and I mean his not one of his characters:
“I’m not trying to do anything spectacular except to change the fabric of our society and bring down the Government”
He didn’t achieve the latter but for my generation at least he changed the fabric of our youth. Goodbye Rik, you will be sorely missed.
Carole Batchelor is Managing Director of Grief Recovery UK a non-profit organisation dedicated to teaching the Grief Recovery Method to anyone who has experienced any type of loss and training those who wish to help others move beyond death, divorce and other losses.
On 27th March 2015 at 05:11, Lianne wrote:
I had the pleasure of spending 12 years with my husband, despite the fact we only made it to our 10 month anniversary before he passed away. It was so sudden and unexpected, we went to bed after our jubilee celebrations... We owned a pub together (with I still own) we had both had a few beers, I got up to the toilet in the morning with a sore head and my brother on law ( who lived with us as a chef) was banging on the toilet window (it's a 1600 coaching inn so this particular window was on the inside) he was shouting he's blue he's blue and I can hear him still to this day. At first I thought it was my husband telling me I was late up but I soon realised something was wrong and I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that is still indescribable. I made my way down stairs and saw my one and only sitting bolt up right in one of our garden chairs that I had popped into the bar the night before as we had run short. I knew then that he was gone, completely blue and I went strait to him and lugged his body from the chair onto the floor. I remember my aviation first aid and attempted to give my beautiful man mouth to mouth but I couldn't part his lips and as I tried I saw his teeth clamped upon his blue tongue then I moved onto the chest compressions. I remember being taught that if you can't feel the ribs cracking then you aren't doing it right, still to this day I can fell my baby boys rib crunching under my hands. It was all far to late and I knew it he had died far before I had got there but a sense of complete denial hit me and I am still to recover x
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