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Cameron Boyce

Grieving celebrity deaths like you knew the person who died can feel weird. Despite this person being a perfect stranger, it can feel kind of like you've lost an acquaintance, or even a friend, when a beloved celebrity dies. It's not quite the same, of course. You don't have anything specific to grasp onto — no memories of times you hung out, no old articles of their clothing, no cards they sent you or texts you've saved. Instead, it's a different kind of grief, one marked by unrequited crushes, big screens, crowded auditoriums, and a unique feeling of loyalty and adoration you've probably never felt for someone you actually know.
If you've ever cried or felt foggy for days over a celebrity's death, you're certainly not alone. According to Rachel O’Neill, Ph.D., a clinical counselor in Ohio who is also a Talkspace provider, feeling grief after a celebrity's death is common because we form personal attachments to celebrities. Even though we don't actually know celebs in person, O'Neill explains that they can still play important roles in our lives.
"Celebrities connect with us, and even though we didn’t personally know them, their presence is still felt in our lives," she says. "For example, maybe the individual was an integral part of your childhood in some way. Maybe they were your first crush or maybe they represented an ideal, something you hoped that you could be. Or perhaps the celebrity held a particular important memory in your life — for example, they starred in a TV show that you watched growing up. In those cases, the death can feel like a loss of that particular part of your past."
It can also be more than a connection to your past, but a joyful part of your everyday life, Cynthia Catchings, a Talkspace therapist in Virginia, tells Teen Vogue.
"Celebrities can be a big part of our daily lives — they may provide us with laughs, comfort, entertainment, excitement, or a sense of escape. When a celeb we feel connected to passes away, it can feel like losing someone close to us because they may have been integral in some of our happiest or saddest moments," Catchings says. "They made us laugh, they made us cry, but most importantly, they helped us forget about our difficult moments when we needed it most."
Still, it can feel weird to grieve someone you didn't actually know. But both O'Neill and Catchings agree that it's a totally normal way to feel for any number of reasons — the most understandable of which is that death is just sad. That's why we asked the experts how you can cope with this intangible form of grief.

Revisit Their Old Work

It doesn't matter that you didn't know the celebrity in person. If you're experiencing grief, O'Neill says, it's important to give yourself space to feel it. Part of that, she says, might include watching an old movie the celeb starred in or replaying an album. Sharing memories on social media also might prove helpful, she says — something that's pretty common to see when a beloved celebrity dies.
"Remember the individual in whatever way you feel will be helpful," she says. "Some people find comfort in sharing their memories on social media and connecting with other users who are also experiencing grief and loss."

Connect With Others Who Are Grieving

If you find a community of people grieving on social media, says Neeraj Gandotra, MD, chief medical officer at Delphi Behavioral Health Group, it's OK to engage with them.
"The collective mourning that follows the loss of a celebrity connects us to an entire community of peers who may also share that suffering and be able to provide a foundation or support group," Gandotra says. "The loss of a celebrity and the grief individuals experience provides an additional opportunity to take inventory of their lives, which whenever we encounter death is something we tend to do."

From TeenVogue.com

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