On the anniversary of David Bowie’s death I am reminded, that we all are part of the same story of life. We do not know each other, yet we are alike. And there is so much we can give to each other, from near or afar.
We share our need to belong and our longing for meaning. We may struggle to make our mark, to make ends meet, to be creative and fulfilled. We share experiences of loss – of someone or something. You and I will have concerns for our health and that of others. We are mortals. We have power to make a difference, to our lives and the lives of others.
We look to others
Often we look from afar to others for support and guidance through their creative expressions: their music, their writing, their painting, their wisdom, their aura and much more. They teach us about life, living and coping with pain.
Strangers can touch our lives and like a home give us a sense of belonging, meaning, direction.
If you are a regular reader of this website, you may feel a shared connection with it and its community.
Indeed, people will have a shared connection with you. And you too touch and enrich others’ lives in ways you may never know.
David Bowie provided a creative home of meaning for many on different levels and stages in their lives: struggling with teenage angst, social norms, and limitations or sexual identity.
We share grief
Many people shared the shock and grief when David Bowie died, his memory since and now the anniversary of his death.
For me, his ability to re-invent himself made him constant, like a river, moving, unstoppably, without an end. Yet, he, too, had an end. And when that happens, it can feel like a part of us has died, too.
The moment I heard of David Bowie’s death I felt old and my teenage years an even longer distant past.
That feeling continued throughout 2016, when many other people died, who carried a very personal meaning for me. Whatever your age, you may have already experienced the same, or this is something yet to come.
What we may share on the anniversary of David Bowie’s death is the experience of loss and grief for him and many others, gone before him or since.
You may experience the first anniversary of the death of someone close to you.
You, too, may know how bereavement feels, with its ebb and flow, its unpredictabilities.
You may be struggling with the bereavement process and be stuck, or you may be flowing through it.
We share health concerns
You may be concerned for you health or that of others. If you are affected by a life shortening or terminal illness, like cancer or one of so many others, that you too, may have been struck by how David Bowie maintained his creative productivity right to the end. His last album “Black Star“, released two days before his death, integrated his personal experience into his art and vice versa.
Not everyone will have the energy, opportunity or inclination to do so. But it can be possible and for me, this sends out a signal.
A terminal diagnosis can shatter our spirit (if you are the person with the illness or if you are a relative or friend). Nothing is or will ever again be what it was. Everything is called into question. We may struggle with meaning and purpose because very little is left predictable and certain – apart from death.
But the human spirit can be strong, and I for one draw hope from those who managed not to be deterred. Those who carry or carried on with whatever they need to do, to keep identity and meaning.
Having been treated for cancer myself, I share in the same struggle of others across our world, to stay motivated, focused and not allow fear to compromise who I am.
Illness can make us invisible, if we let it.
We share mortality
As the heroes of yester-years pass, so the undeniable and inescapable truth of our own death manifests itself firmly in our conscious. We are vulnerable, too.
There are people, you and I, will have only memories of. And at some time, others will only have memories of us.
You may be considering your own mortality. Or you may not yet have thought about it. You may be frightened of death, or you may be at peace with its inevitability.
I believe that fear of death renders us vulnerable to an inner emptiness, especially if death is not sudden and unexpected, but a gradual process due to illness.
Fear of death can eat away at our soul. It could be a soul-less death.
We have a chance
Talking about death is becoming more and more common, and I think we should draw strength from that.
We have a shared opportunity, you and I, to help each other in the process of making peace with our death – now. Not just at the end of our lives, but right now, in the midst of our lives.
I know this can be hard and frightening. But in my experience, those who manage to talk about, prepare for and share the pain of a life coming to an end, will also share so more fully the joy for the life that has been. And what a legacy is that!
We have power
Whatever your own circumstances, now or in the future, you, too, have the power to make a difference to your life and that of others.
Hold on to your power and your wisdom and share it, in your own, very personal way. @KarinSieger (Click to Tweet!)
Karin Sieger is a psychotherapist and writer. She specialises in supporting people through anxiety, bereavement and life-changing illnesses like cancer. Her blog is Between Self and Doubt. You can follow her on Twitter and can sign up for her newsletters here. For more information visit KarinSieger.com.