#soulbitsonfire: Loss and Grief in the Collective

Updated: Jan 24, 2019

by Samantha Rose

The first time I heard Mac Miller on a song was on The Internet’s song, “Wanders of the Mind.” I hadn’t previously heard his music, but I knew that if The Internet was down with him, then he must be cool.

He officially won me over when he released The Divine Feminine. His use of the language intrigued me and the upbeat jam that is “Dang!” was played in my car and my home all of 2017.

I wasn’t a superfan, but for some reason I felt his loss deeply. When my friend text me, “Mac Miller died,” so directly, it was like a sudden pang in my heart. I immediately checked Twitter to see that I was not the only one. Although, I studied Mac for a few days post his passing… and anyone who knew his work must have known it was coming, even if we greatly hoped it wouldn’t. And yet, it surprised us nonetheless.

By the time you’re reading this, it’s been a week or two, and for the first two nights after his passing I tossed and turned thinking about him.

I’ve always been like this.

I take it to heart when certain “celebrities” die. I don’t know why I feel them in my energy for so long after, too. It almost makes me feel like I’m guarding the gates or something, ushering them onto the next. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this. In fact, I think the point is that we all feel this. This connection of their energy and essence, suddenly memorialized, that although they are no longer physically here, we feel them more than ever.

Some well-known people impact the collective so greatly, that it’s almost impossible not to feel the collective grief, especially if you liked the person who’s passed. I ugly cried when Robin Williams died, I felt the immense loss when Michael Jackson passed over, I cried over our loss of the great Aretha Franklin, and I mourned Heath Ledger on and off over a span of years. I realize that death happens daily and it’s an inevitable part of life. I understand that we build famous people up to a ridiculous amount. Some famous losses impact us more than others, naturally.

The week of Mac’s passing, I was reading a lot about Janis Joplin (they have the same birthday, by. the. way.), and her death was so eerie. Of course, it’s probably just written that way by sensationalists. But! Alone in a hotel room overdosing on heroin in Hollywood is no way to go, and there’s always some grim detail that sticks with me. I’ll spare you the one about Janis. So when I heard about Mac the same week, I had already been on edge, and that sent me over.

Some of these celebrity deaths are full of impact. It’s collective loss, really. I knew I wasn’t feeling only my sadness. When the collective mourns, we feel it, and that shows me how connected we truly are. These people may be famous, but they have a strong impact on humanity. Some better than others. I wouldn’t say I mourn them equally or feel their loss equally, but Mac was a loss for all of us who felt who he was.

Mac Miller clearly had an impact on many people’s lives. And almost always a positive one, even with his “demons,” as they’ve been called. He presented himself as something refreshing and needed in Hip Hop: a rapper who loved people (and women) without gimmicks. Who explored addiction and mental health without glorifying it. I won’t say he goes without his flaws, because everyone has them, but he seemed to express a respect and appreciation that goes beyond relationships, genders, and our roles. He appeared to simply have a deep respect and love for humanity and wishes of well-being for everyone.

I think losing him so soon was a great loss for his communities, and our generation. One of the few nights I couldn’t stop thinking about him I just let loose and cried, hard. I knew they weren’t just my tears, if they were mine at all. I felt the cloud get darker and heavier over me until it burst––and I hope that I wasn’t the only one relieved from my shed tears.

From testimonials and tweets I’ve seen the last few weeks, it’s clear that Mac had a deeply positive impact on many people in his life, from friends to lovers to family alike. To me, it’s clear that Mac was a good person who meant well, who cared for others, and wanted this world to be a better place. He had a peaceful energy and spread love through his music. He never tried too hard, or tried to be what he wasn’t. He was a genuine soul. Everyone knew that, and I hope that in these times of collective loss that we recognize how truly connected we all are, and shift our world accordingly.

Samantha Rose is a poet, writer, and editor whose burnings have reached The Occulum, ILY Mag, and more. She runs her own coven + lit mag, Pussy Magic, and has self-published two collections of poetry. Her writing speaks to the core of what churns us as humans and she is inspired by the interweaving of nature. She is passionate about honest and open self-expression. With Soulbits on Fire, Samantha hopes to inspire others to openly and bravely FEEL. She encourages you to take a few deep breaths after reading this. Feel that? Feels good, doesn't it? Check out her #soulbits on IG: @baddiesam.


© 2018 by Azia Archer

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