My friend Tishia Lee’s post reminded me I wanted to write about this! I’ve seen a handful of people posting on twitter and on blogs about the coverage Michael Jackson got after he died. People were (and maybe still are frustrated at least) upset the coverage for soldiers dying at war are not getting the same coverage.
One comment I read said something along the lines of (sorry in advance, I can’t remember where I read this!) Jane Doe in England might not know the soldier from Kansas to mourn his death, but she knew Michael Jackson. I feel along the same lines. I think the coverage was excessive, but considering who Michael Jackson was, that’s about the coverage I’d expect!
I think it can be hard for those of us in the military to come to terms with the fact that people in the general population probably are not thinking about the war, the cost of war, the families that are alone, the parents who send their children off to fight and never have them return home, daily like many of us are. In my own family my Grandpa was in the Army and my Uncle in the Marines. My Grandpa was in WWII and my Uncle in Vietnam. My husband is in the Navy and though there are sailors in Iraq and Afghanistan, they aren’t mentioned nearly as much as soldiers (yes, it’s upsetting to me to see the majority of things referring to the soldiers at war, considering it’s more then soldiers, but that’s for another time). My husband isn’t there and he’s been deployed numerous times over the years he’s been in the Navy because that’s just how the Navy works.
I think people in the general population do recognize the lives lost despite not thinking about it daily – for us it is our life, it is what we are a part of, for them – it’s their friends child, their brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, kids they watched growing up, kids who had kids, and more. People watch the news and see the coverage about the war. Entire towns and communities and families hearts are broken over the losses of these people. Their hearts are broken.
Since my husband isn’t directly at war I don’t think about the what if of him not coming home. I don’t have any plans. But I know so many people who do. And my heart hurts for them. To even have to make those plans is a so difficult. To have to think of the possibilities of your loved one not coming home is something I’d rather block out. Sure that doesn’t help the situation, but for me, for right now, it’s the easiest thing to do.
Add to that I’m a person who grieves in private. I’ve always held my emotions close to me. Yes I wrote about my Grandma dying and my son, but that’s it. And sure that is out there online, but I don’t tell people I just met easily. Friends and family know about George, and I ended up telling a few friends when we lived in Texas, but that’s my business, our family business. That’s my kids who think about the brother they never got to know and my husband who didn’t get another son. It’s me having life inside of me and then it was gone. I don’t talk about that because my soul hurts with the loss. I don’t share about the issues in dealing with my Grandma’s Memorial or our plans or lack of plans for more children. Maybe having others know what I’m going through would expand the circle for which I would be able to draw support from, but who I am, I mean, my personality is such that I just don’t share that way.
Grieving for a celebrity is so different then grieving for a family member or someone you knew. Grieving for Michael Jackson is a sign of the loss of a fantastic performer, someone who entertained people for the majority of his life. And then you go about your business. You go to work and do laundry and go to meeting and file papers and play catch with your kids.
When someone you love, someone you watched grow up or gave birth to or so many other scenarios, dies the loss is felt in your soul. It is felt to the core of your body and changes who you are. From that moment forward you are a changed person. Your body aches when you think of them and your tears come easily.
Entire towns, communities and family are aching and how they deal with it is their business. I don’t want anyone I know to have a funeral broadcast over tv and have millions of people grieve for them, because that grief is short lived.