We live in a digital age where news spreads like wildfire. Whenever a celebrity dies, we know the instant we open Facebook, turn on the tv or radio. What happens now is that there is a mass outpouring of grief and love for the person who has died. All of a sudden everyone is a fan or has a story to tell about the person and how much they loved their work/singing/writing/acting. If the death is unexpected or the person is young then it is even more apparent.
The death of David Bowie in 2016 got me thinking about this phenomenon. His music was a soundtrack to my life, I couldn’t remember a time when he was not making music and then he was gone. My Facebook page was filled with posts from people saying how devastated they were to hear of his death, how much they loved his music and what an effect some of his songs had had on their life. I can’t remember a single one of these people even mentioning David Bowie when he was alive. This isn’t a criticism – we just assume that people will be around forever, but I couldn’t help but think the world might be a slightly better place if rather than mourning people after their death, we shared the love we have for them when they were still alive?
One of my inspirations through my life has been David Attenborough. Being allowed to stay up and watch Life on Earth was the highlight of my week. Throughout my life I have watched his nature programmes and seen things I can only dream of. The Blue Planet inspired me to take my trip of a lifetime to cage dive with Great White Sharks at Isla Guadalupe off the coast of Mexico for five days. Following the death of David Bowie, I thought of how I might feel if I were to hear that David Attenborough had died (I hope he lives forever obviously!) and it inspired me to write to him and thank him for his work and the influence it has had on me over the decades. He may have received it along with a tonne of other mail and thought I was bonkers or perhaps it may have made him smile just a little. Whatever his reaction he sent me a lovely hand written note thanking me for getting in touch.
The point of these ramblings is to urge you if you have something to say then say it. Don’t wait for the perfect moment. If you love someone tell them, if someone does something good for you then thank them, if your child wants to talk to you, make time for them. We only have one life, and so does everyone else.