Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Icons - why their tragedies touch us

Icon isn't a word I was familiar with until I became computerized, but now I know that its a symbol of something big. I think that's why people who become icons are larger than life to us other people down in the trenches of life.

The first tragic icon loss that I remember is the assassination of President Kennedy. I was in elementary school and everyone cried. School let out early and we all went home and cried some more. That was also the first time I remember crying as if my heart were breaking. That family. Those kids. Their very public lives. I couldn't get over how keenly I felt the loss.

Musicians tend to be an iconic bunch. In my lifetime, many have had their lives cut short - Jim Croce, Buddy Holly, Mama Cass, Jim Morrison, Eric Clapton's son, well I could go on and on.

Movie stars capture our imaginations, take us on sweeping adventures. We are affected by their loss as well. The recent death of Heath Ledger brought a myriad of Internet posts as people struggled to understand why someone so talented, with such promise, didn't make it.

This topic resonates deeply with me. I believe we all aspire to greatness, we all want to have our 15 minutes of fame. In the same vein, we admire those who rise to the top of their professions and when their lives are cut short, we are struck by a profound sense of loss. We struggle to make sense of the tragedy, even if it has no direct impact on our daily lives.

The death of an icon forces us to examine our basic beliefs about life, about fairness, about good and evil. We wrestle with our own private demons and hopefully come to a different understanding of the world.

For me, that enduring realization is that life is fragile. Many things are out of our control. All we can do each day is our best, hoping and praying that our lives mean something.

Writer Wednesday with Maggie at The Book Spa

No comments: