I typed “how many people died in 2016?” into my browser’s search engine. I found it no surprise that Wikipedia came up as the very first result. I thought, I wonder what figure it will tell me. I found it astounding that the only people Wikipedia recognised who had died in 2016 were those who had some sort of public status, reflected in a Wikipedia page devoted to them as a person.
More people than that died in 2016. Your uncle. Your grandfather. Your son or daughter. Your mother. Your sister. Or it was a friend who had some loss that shook their world. A loss they cannot yet let go of, and may never do, in the ultimate sense.
There is much ado made about the celebrities we’ve lost (as if these people were ever ours, anyway?) in 2016. Statistically speaking, it’s very doubtful that 2016 would be any worse a year than 2015 or the coming year, 2017, will be in that regard. Roughly the same amount of celebrities each die every year, give or take.
But that’s not the point of what I’m writing this for.
For every person who has died, for everyone bereaved because of each person’s loss, solemnity is owed. What has occurred in their loss is something that has changed them forever. And for the person gone, they’re gone. Sure, we can celebrate that they’re ‘in a better place’ (if we believe they are) but all their life is gone. It’s done. It’s history.
There is nothing good about death other than thinking about ours can cause us to cherish our life a whole lot more.
So, if you lost someone dear to you this year, whether that person was a celebrity or not, your loss, and that person, is as important as anyone is.
And, by the way, the average deaths per annum is 55.3 million persons — each one, special.