I never met Christine McVie, but the grief I feel upon her passing yesterday is as real as if I had. It’s the same sadness I felt when people like Robin Williams, Tom Petty, Prince, and Princess Diana died.
Celebrities often bring something into our lives that feels personal, even though we don’t know them personally. Through their music, their comedy, or their acting, they fill us with joy and hope, ask us to reflect on ourselves and the world, and often say or sing what we can’t articulate. And when our favorites die, our grief is palpable and–in case you question if you have the “right” to miss someone you never knew–our grief is valid. (See “Can You Grieve Someone You Never Met?“)
In the case of Christine McVie, it was the relatability of her lyrics that made her so special to me. In “Over My Head,” she describes her lover’s mood as a circus wheel, changing all the time. (I’ve definitely been there, still doing that.) Her song, “Don’t Stop,” always lifts me up, reminding me that yesterday is gone and tomorrow will surely be here. But of all her songs, “Songbird” touches me the deepest. It’s a love song filled with promises I aspire to keep with my closest relationships: to not cause them pain, to never be cold, and to love them unconditionally and with certainty. I can’t listen to it without crying—especially for the way she sings it.
For more than forty years, my life was (and will continue to be) enhanced by the words of a woman I never knew, but yet, through her musical gift, I felt I knew. May her children and friends find peace and support in knowing millions of people are grieving with them.
Please share in the comments your favorite Christine McVie songs, or how another celebrity’s life and/or death has impacted you.