As I watched Madonna’s performance at the Billboard Music Awards honoring Prince’s life, I reflected about the energy of the audience. It was as if the audience took a moment to pause. It was a calm energy maybe filled with memories of that artist we loved and idealized. Maybe the audience carried the aspirations, dreams and unfolding life of someone so close to them but later seeing his light slowly shutting down completely. The show must go on, many say in the entertainment industry. However, Prince’s death reminds us that the show either has an end or must pause. It is a reminder of how fragile life is and about our own existential limitations. It is a reminder of life mysterious way of letting us shine within a time frame. We all have a time frame, but how do we want to spend it? What are our priorities in this life and how do we make space for it? How do we want to be remembered? What do we want to give to others in this present life? And, are we aware of the impact we have on others?
Although the entertainment industry wants to force us to keep on with the show, I believe we need time to pause to meditate on the loss we have experienced. When we grief, we do not only grief about the person we lost but about the part of ourselves that is gone. We slowly need to mend ourselves and reconfigure our inner pieces to accommodate it to the current reality that our inner favorite artist is no longer with us but all that he represents will remain present.
To really honor those we have lost, we need to be willing to sit, pause and take a long deep breath to feel the sorrow and pain of their absence in our lives. Do not run away from sorrow. The show should not go on without this process of grief. Let’s turn off the lights and our public performance and take time to mourn. You and the person you lost deserve it.
Merari E. Fernández Castro,