1. Celebrity Deaths
The year seemed to start off with the death of David Bowie on January 10, followed by the death of Alan Rickman just four days later, and Glenn Frey four days after that. By the end of March, we’d lost Nancy Reagan, George Martin, Keith Emerson and Patty Duke, among others. Merle Haggard, Prince, Muhammad Ali would follow. RIP, Leon Russell, whom I considered my piano teacher. And if we make it through today without another celebrity death, the deaths this past week of George Michael, followed by the passing of Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, just one later, will be the caboose on this sad train of 2016.
Yes, many celebrities died. While sometimes I worry that our culture is obsessed with celebrities, I understand how they seem to be intimately a part of our lives through music that evokes our memories, movies that engage us and books that rock our world views. While we weren’t flame-throwing and shade-casting at one another over politics this year, we were mourning together, not just for the celebrities themselves, but for a shared past that included them. When we shared our memories and admiration for those lost, the election briefly took a back seat. When Gene Wilder died we were too busy watching Willy Wonka to be mean for a few hours, and when Leonard Cohen died, we sang Hallelujah together.