Why the tears?

Why the worldwide wave of shock, and the enduring mourning? Why the news cycle take-over? Why such unedited expressions and unfiltered images of sadness from celebrities and civilians alike? Why so many tears?

There’s something about the passing of a musician that stirs the spirit of the world. It’s like the passing of no other type of celebrity. Something that, for some reason, hits the hearts of millions, and unites strangers in memorial songs of celebration of a life once artistically lived, and now all too soon lost.

It is happening right now, at this moment. Across the world icons have been turned purple, music downloads are pouring through the internet, doves are crying.

Prince, just days after his last concert, just days after simple flu stopped his footsteps and sent him for medical care. Just 57 years of age.And David Bowie, and Maurice White, and Glenn Frey, and so, so, so many others. And this is in the first four months of 2016 alone. Some are defined as ‘legends‘, some less known.

We never really knew them, who they really were, the person behind the personality. Their personal lives were theirs. Granted, many were far from discreet. Still, while we may have seen through the news, read through the tabloids, what they were up to, the world never really knew them, not in way that warranted such profound outpourings of grief.

So why the tears? Why such a feeling of loss?

Because while their lives were mysteries, they, in their musically penetrating way, were an open-book part of ours. We might have been too young to understand the lyrics, but still, they spoke to us – to our emotions, our fears, often finding a voice when words were otherwise impossible to find. Lyrics linked to personal moments of life, of death. First love, first heartache, last moments, last memories, everlasting memories…

To hear music of now lost legends is to hear times of our past now gone. All it takes is a few notes, and a song can take us right back, stirring up memories of people, places, passions, pains. Musical links, deeply embedded in our lives, creating a personal soundtrack.

And so, the day the music dies, we cry. Not only for a musician’s life now lost, but a part of our lives remembered with tears – some sweet, some bitter, some long gone, some just an arms-length away – and what that musician brought to those times, without knowing it.

Today the tears are purple, tomorrow the colour will differ depending on whose shoulder the hand of fate next rests.

Whatever colour the tears, in our hearts they are a release of loving appreciation of what one person, one stranger, brought to our lives.

They are a tribute, a moment of pause to think of who they were, who we were back then, when we lived with their music filling our ever-shaping lives. And who we are today.

They are a quiet  moment alone to say a prayer of thanks.

They are the physical representation of the sound that can be heard when doves cry.

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Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2016