A celebration of life

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Earlier this month, we published a blog by Emily who has recently lost her Grandad. Here, she shares what it was like when a celebrity that meant a lot to her died and how other people’s death can trigger our grief.

The new year is well into full swing, and there are glimpses of spring in the air. The festive season brought a wide mix of emotions with it, especially if – like me – you have lost a loved one. Christmastime can be difficult if you’ve experienced bereavement as well as the New Year; when most people are celebrating, all you want to do is sit with your emotions and feel how you need to feel. This was the story of my life over the festive period and so far in 2022 it has proven difficult to get out of that reflective mood.

Speaking about my own experiences of bereavement is something I have been open about for a while. My Dad passed away when I was seventeen almost 10 years ago and while it happened almost a decade ago, it also still feels fresh in my mind. On 1st December, I lost my Grandad, he was 90. He was my Dad’s Dad and a war hero. While it still feels very raw, I have been surprised that I have found peace in the fact that he’s no longer suffering and that he had a really good life.

How a celebrity death affected my grief

However, a celebrity death which really affected me over the festive period was that of Carlos Marin – of the band Il Divo – who passed away on 19th December, aged 53, a similar age to my Dad when he died in 2012. I can’t understand why the death of a celebrity has made me more heartbroken.

It’s their music I will listen to when I am sad, or when I want to remember times spent with my Dad and now my Grandad.

Il Divo’s music has been part of my life since just after my Dad passed away. Anecdotally, it was an A Level French class in the school I now teach in where I first heard Il Divo’s music with the song Pour Que Tu M’aimes Encore. I’ve been a fan of their music ever since and seen them live twice. Their music has brought me comfort through difficult times, including my Dad’s death and the passing away of my Grandad. Their music is beautiful, captivating. It’s their music I will listen to when I am sad, or when I want to remember times spent with my Dad and now my Grandad.

The importance of celebrating someone’s life

I watched Il Divo’s ‘A Virtual Celebration of Life’ in memory of Carlos Marin – where his bandmates spoke about him in a way that touched my heart – how they had been together for 17 years, about how his singing mesmerised and amazed them every time but also how they are heartbroken and deeply saddened by the loss. But, what I took away from watching them speak, was the importance of keeping those that have passed memory alive.

My Dad and my Grandad were, still are, and always will be important men in my life. Lots of people find it hard to comprehend why I speak and write about them. It’s to keep their memory alive and to celebrate their lives. Losing a loved one is the hardest thing that anyone can ever go through, but it is so important to keep them alive in our minds and in our hearts. To celebrate the lives they lived.

It is so important to keep them alive in our minds and in our hearts

I have learnt a lot over the past few months. I’ve learnt that even if you’ve lost someone close to you, you will take them with you wherever you go. You will carry them in your hearts. I will continue carrying my Dad, but I will also now carry my Grandad and Carlos Marin.

Emily Maybanks

If you’ve been affected by grief, Let’s Talk About Loss is here to support you. We’re a community of people who get it. Find your local meet up here.