There is something strangely difficult and distinctive about mourning the death of a celebrity. Perhaps you’ve never met them, yet it may feel like you know them intimately through their work. That’s how I felt about Chadwick Boseman. I never had the pleasure of meeting him in person. Yet I knew him. We had so many shared memories, like when I took my dad to the movies to see Chadwick Boseman in 42. My dad doesn’t like many contemporary movies but he adored Boseman in that film. I remember his dazzling smile as he danced and sang in Get On Up as James Brown, the same way I would remember a relative’s smile at a Thanksgiving dinner. The fact that we never met face to face made his seemingly sudden death no less devastating to me. When I saw the impossible news flash on my screen via instagram, I was in disbelief. I cried.
And I’m not the only one. There has been a global collective experience of grief around the untimely and tragic death of Chadwick Boseman—our black panther, our King. The actor’s passing at age 43, after a four-year battle with colon cancer, was confirmed by a statement released on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.
From little Black boys crying with their hands folded in an X across their chests surrounded by Black Panther action figures, to actors who knew Boseman and worked with him—we all knew and witnessed his talent but few knew his pain. For us his death was sudden. For him it was a four yearlong battle that he would eventually lose.
It has only been a few days since the news of his passing spread across social media on August 28th, 2020 but already his absence is palpable. As a collective we not only have to grapple with the loss of such a talent and a giant in the world of entertainment, but can we help not to imagine what it must have been like to suffer in silence. How isolating he must have felt to be privately battling a terminal illness, all the while publicly being our hero—smiling at every camera, hugging every kid, throwing the X against his chest for every passerby. What a sacrifice. It’s heroic, but also sad. In that four-year span, Boseman gave us some of the most culturally important films of our time. As such, his legacy will live on forever. And we will miss him forever.
We may not have met Chadwick Boseman in person but we also were not strangers. So don’t dismiss that feeling. If you’re also experiencing this collective grief, you are not alone and it’s not unusual. Here are five reasons we experience grief for people we’ve never met.
-We Mourn What They Meant To Us
-We grieve for all the amazing things they would have accomplished had they lived
-They represented some actualization of our own dreams
-Their death reminds us of our own fears
-Collective mourning connects us to a larger community.
Here are Five Tools to Help Cope with Loss
Meditation & Breath work
It’s critical to understand that grief is part of our nature and if we do not allow ourselves the space and time to grieve, this can trigger other issues and problems. Grief affects every part of us, including our breathing and our minds. We may feel uneasy or anxious. We may even find ourselves holding the breath. Certified life Coach and yoga instructor Samora Suber created this Alternate Nostril Breathing for Beginners video as a way for newbies to access breath work.
She also teaches meditation for beginners Here.
Burning Palo Santo is known for not only clearing energy in a space but also clearing your personal energy. It can also help to reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, grief, or depression. To use it First you start with a simple intention of focusing on clearing any unwanted energy out of your space and mind. Once you have your intention in mind, light the Palo Santo and hold at a 45 degree angle pointing the tip down towards the flame. Allow it to burn for 30 seconds and then blow it out.
We often store unprocessed emotions like grief in our bodies as tension. And while you may not be ready to venture to the spa for a massage a tool like the Theragun also massages and releases that tension.
CBD has also been linked to helping certain individuals better process anxiety and grief. These CBD Gummies are a fun and easy way to incorporate CBD into your lifestyle. You should always check with your doctor before incorporating any new supplement in to your diet.
A recent study by Sanada and colleagues, published in the April 2020 issue of Journal of Affective Disorders, states that people experiencing depression and or grief appear to have reduced numbers of several populations of gut microbiota. The researchers also found that interventions using probiotics seem to improve symptoms of depression and grief. New Chapter Probiotics contain a special formula to support your mood as well as your gut.