One of my (many) oddities is that I am rather clueless about most celebrities. Because I don’t have a TV, rarely go to movies, don’t pay attention to sports, and do not follow mainstream music, I am unaware of who most of these people are. And even if I’ve heard people mention the names, I am entirely unable to recognize most celebrities in photographs. So news about the trials, tribulations, or even deaths of these famous people generally leaves me rather unmoved because I don’t know who they are.
Authors tend to be a different story for me. I love to read, and books have often been my closest friends in that they have expanded my world, encouraged me in tough times, and helped me to grow. The authors that write these books that mean so much to me—most of whom I have never met in any way—feel like distant friends because they have shared so much of themselves with me in the writing of their books. When one of these authors dies, I feel the loss.
Debbie Ford, who died last night, was one of those authors. Her book The Dark Side of the Light Chasers introduced me to my shadow side and helped me understand the importance of exploring, owning, and making peace with my shadow. While I am nowhere close to being done with that process, I have found that journey to be one that is life-giving and healing. I am grateful for her assistance on the way, and I am sad to hear of her death.
She’s someone who I never met, never attended one of her talks (in person or virtually), never corresponded with (although I did follow her on Facebook because her quotes were so helpful), and knew almost nothing of her personal life. I did not even know that she was ill. And I still am sad to think that she is gone, knowing that she will never have the opportunity to write more books that might change my life and the lives of others.
I do recognize the irony in this. While I have often been puzzled by how intensely people react to the death of actors, musicians, or sports figures that they have never met, I think nothing of reacting in similar fashion when a beloved author dies. My oddness is just in my choice of “celebrities” to whom I become attached, I guess. I am a bookworm after all.
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