As most of you know, I’m really trying to rein in my anger generally but seriously, some people just make me want to explode with outrage and frustration, namely an individual who has written about his bemusement at the outpouring of what he sees as ‘faux’ grief at the untimely, tragic death of Peaches Geldof.
Like many, I was stunned at the news of her demise, and genuinely still feel deeply saddened today. I thought about writing something on this blog yesterday, but thought to myself ‘What can I say that others have not already?’ and settled for praying for her family, children and loved ones instead.
Then I saw this.
Lord God, where to start?
I’m going to try and do this kindly and honourably just so that Lee Cooper might understand that just because his experience does not mirror that of his contacts, does not mean that people are not genuinely affected by this.
The crux of his message seems to stem on the rich and famous “beautiful people” being at the centre of media attention when tragedy strikes, but millions of unknowns die every day under the most awful conditions possible.
As you know, I am not above being resentful of said “beautiful people” (https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/daily-prompt-green-eyed-lady-shiny-happy-people/), but surely this is one of those crucial circumstances when we realise that they are not necessarily so ‘shiny’ and ‘happy’ all the time after all, and when it comes down to it, death, sickness and devastation are neither prejudiced or fussy? In fact, when the chips are down, the fates/gremlins/four horses of the apocalypse will happily crash into anyone’s life and stomp their dreams into the earth at any given time, no matter how pretty their faces or how talented/well know/rich they are. Bottom line is, shitty things are the greatest leveller.
The other point is that fame and fortune tends to come at a price.
Ask Amy Winehouse. Ask Jade Goody. Ask Brittany Murphy. Ask Princess Diana
But you can’t can you? Because they are no longer with us, and arguably still would have been had they not lived their lives in the glare of publicity, under the perpetual scrutiny of the muck raking, gibbering gossip mongers, parasitical paparazzi and the ‘build ’em up, tear ’em down’ tabloid media.
And the millions of people who die in similar or even worse circumstance every day? As unfair as it might seem, we don’t know anything about them as individuals so we cannot relate to them and tend not to mourn them in the way that we do for people in our circle or, like Peaches, people whose lives we have some knowledge of.
The collective sadness surrounding the death of Peaches Geldof, like Princess Diana, is down to the fact that we know, or think we know her, and our empathy is strong because we all have a ‘Peaches’ in our life.
A daughter, a niece, a cousin, a sister, a granddaughter who we now clasp to us in gratitude, whilst aching for Ms Geldof’s loved ones as we imagine the unimaginable, searing, endless pain they must be suffering and thank God that such a thing did not befall us or ours.
To that affect, when we mourn someone famous we are mourning for all lost children and their bereaved parents, friends, siblings and lovers, because if we knew of them, we’d empathise with them too.
Can I put into words why I personally am so sad at Peaches’ death?
Firstly, for those of you that don’t know, my blog is totally anonymous so I have no reason to write anything other than the absolute truth. I am not into showboating (quite the contrary) or using this article to make myself look like some obsequious, rubber necking, ‘faux’ (there’s that word again) saint or something.
Those of you who know me know that I am far from that.
I’m sad because I’m from her mother and father’s generation and I remember Bob, Paula and their clutch of happy, tow headed moppets from the ’80’s and ’90’s, and they seemed like the happiest family in the world.
I then remember only too clearly Bob and Paula splitting up, the chaos that ensued, and the resulting media frenzy and thinking ‘God, those poor kids’.
Having once been a fan of her writing, I also remember, to my shame, judging Paula harshly and dismissing her as vain, selfish, and destructive, when I didn’t really know her or what was going in her marriage. This is why I avoid the tabloids nowadays, because when you’re a judgemental old cow like me, it is only too easy to believe what you read in the newspapers.
No one is all good, and no one is all bad. We are both shit and sugar. We all have our shadow side. Deny it’s existence and it can take over.
I later remember my shock at Michael Hutchence’s death, and only then started to realise that he and Paula weren’t necessarily living the ‘hot rock couple’ party lifestyle, and that Paula’s monumental decision to split from Bob had corrupted her life and which then started to speedily unravel.
I saw Paula in a cafe in London about a week before her death having lunch with Finlay Quayle. She wore none of her usual trademark make up and red lipstick, and remembered thinking that she looked very wan and apathetic.
Ten days later she was dead.
The whole thing was like some awful, horrific soap opera. When and where would it all end?
And always at the heart of the action were her poor children, confused and disorientated, bug eyed at the cameras, shrinking away from the unwanted press attention.
Poor Bob. Quite how he kept it all together during those dark days is beyond me.
And what he did next was nothing short of heroic. He put aside his animosity towards Hutchence and took up custody of his and Paula’s love child Tiger because he felt it best that she was raised with her half sisters, formally adopting her in 2007, and brought all of the kids up himself, along with his partner Jeanne Marine, giving them love, security and solid family environment in which to flourish.
There has been a lot in the press about relations with the Hutchence family and Bob not being great, and accusations of keeping them and Tiger apart, but no one is perfect, and I dare say there is muck to be found if one cares to rake it up.
But to my mind, Bob Geldof is a decent bloke with a huge heart.
Over the years, Peaches, like most kids, had her ups and downs, and because she was unable to grieve for her mother for years, stumbled around, trying to find a sense of belonging as she did not really know who she was.
I understand and empathise with that feeling oh so well. I too lost my mum too young, and am still trying to figure out who I am and my place in this world and I’m in my 50’s.
Then after a very brief marriage that was swiftly dissolved, she found a life partner in Thomas Cohen, had two beautiful babies and everything seemed to fall into place.
As an outsider looking in, it just felt that she had found her place in life. She no longer sought the wrong kind of attention, she no longer indulged in unhealthy pastimes.
You could see her happiness in her face.
There was no longer doubt or discomfort in her expression. She literally glowed, and it was evident that she was happy and had blossomed from a bolshy teen into a secure, self assured woman and mother, and I couldn’t have been more pleased for her.
And later, she confirmed my inkling in her last ever interview.
‘Becoming a mother was like becoming me, finally,’ she said, ‘After years of struggling to know myself, feeling lost at sea, rudderless and troubled, having babies through which to correct the multiple mistakes of my own traumatic childhood was beyond healing’.
And then, yesterday morning, she died.
It was beyond shocking.
How fucking inadequate words are sometimes.
How could you not feel sad about this?
If you don’t, I’m not judging you. We are as we are, and as an empath, quite frankly, I envy you.
What I do judge however is someone who deems the grief and feelings as others as ‘faux’ whilst parasitically using the death of one of his much maligned “beautiful people” to try and create controversy and attract attention to his blog.
Who is he to call into question the authenticity of the feelings of others?
Who is anyone hurting by posting their messages of sympathy online?
Maybe just maybe this surge of empathy will colour all of their lives and we’ll all, even if only for a day or two, start treating one another a little more kindly? Would that be such a terrible thing?
My heart goes out to Bob Geldof. How much more tragedy and heartache can one man take?
Her siblings are so young, too young to have lost a sister at 25, bless their hearts.
Her babies, who’ll never really know their mum and may not even remember her or how much she loved them.
Her poor manchild husband Thomas left to bring up his children alone, when he’s barely more than a boy himself.
As Ellie Goulding said “Even if you think you’ve got it all figured out, some things still can’t be explained or understood”
I can’t even begin to understand or relate it to a merciful and loving God.
And yes, I would feel the same for anyone else who has suffered the loss of a child, spouse or mother in such devastating circumstances, famous or otherwise.
I can only hope that Peaches died painlessly of natural causes, that the press and paps BACK OFF, and that her family and friends are left alone to mourn her in peace.
If you feel sad, feel sad. There is nothing to justify or to be ashamed about.
Please say a prayer and send love/grace/chi to all of her folks, because they’re so going to need it now and in the months and years to come.
RIP sweet Peaches G x