When a loved one dies, in addition to the obvious grief, we’re often left with the stress of a lengthy list of things that need to be done very quickly. There’s travel to be booked, funeral arrangements to be dealt with, possessions to be sorted through and about a gazillion phone calls to be made. It’s the reason why it’s customary to deliver a home-cooked meal to someone dealing with such a loss; things are so chaotic and awful in the immediate aftermath of death that we often can’t be trusted to feed ourselves.
Why, then, do we expect celebrities who are grappling with such a loss to also spit out a public statement within 24 hours? The surviving cast of “Friends” (Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc) have remained silent thus far after their co-star Matthew Perry was found dead in his home over the weekend, apparently drowning in his hot tub at the age of 54, and in response, so-called “fans” have left a barrage of comments on their most recent Instagram posts demanding to know why they haven’t spoken out publicly about their late friend yet.
The reason, presumably, is because they’re in shock and dealing with the same horrendous mix of emotions and logistical nightmares that any of us do when someone close to us dies. The cast of “Friends” were famously very close friends in real life, maintaining a strong connection in the decades after their show wrapped, and often referring to each other as family — more like brothers and sisters than simply friends or coworkers. Perry wrote about how his castmates stood by him and protected him when he was in the throes of addiction in his autobiography, and he singled out Aniston in particular as someone who was especially supportive of and instrumental in his recovery. She and the rest of the cast are likely devastated. Why can’t we give them the space to grieve privately however they see fit without pressuring them to cobble together a press release?
And furthermore, why do we even need a statement from them so soon after his death? There will likely be more in-depth tributes and remembrances at a later date. But what can a statement posted to Instagram tell us about their relationship and feelings about Perry that we didn’t already know? It’ll probably tell us they’re shocked, saddened and will never be able to fill the gaping hole in their lives that he leaves behind. It’ll say how much they all loved him. But why do we need to read those words right now when anyone who’s paid attention to their interactions on and off-screen for the past 30 years or so is already aware of all that? Do we really need the platitudes?
It’s easy to forget that celebrities are, at the end of the day, just people. And people should be allowed to grieve however they need to. If that means staying quiet and mourning the loss of someone in private, so be it.
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