Over the past week or two I’ve seen a few different posts that address the feelings of loss that some fans are feeling in relation to Richard Armitage and this fandom. More than just loss, grief has been spoken of.
When I read that I thought, surely not.
For me the word grief is attributed to how I felt when my best friend died at 18 years old from cancer. Or four years ago when one of my aunts and my father passed away within a twelve hour time period. In both cases, I felt as if the world had ended, or at least like it should have. I cried until I couldn’t cry anymore. I lamented the fact that my dear friend should have had a lifetime ahead of her. I raged at the fact that if my dad had only taken better care of himself he wouldn’t have had the health problems that led to his death at 59 years old. In some senses I pulled away from my friends because no matter how much they genuinely cared about me and wanted to be there for me, they just couldn’t understand the loss. There was this aching hollow in my heart, that even now I’m not sure will ever heal completely. Sure, life goes on, but those people are never coming back and the void they left can’t be filled.
So, when I read that fans grieve in regards to Richard and the fandom, I thought maybe I had a narrow view of grief and went to look up the definition.
Grief (according to Merriam-Webster):
a : deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement
b : a cause of such suffering
I suppose I have to conceded that perhaps there are fans that do feel bereaved in deep or poignant ways. I am just having a hard time reconciling my personal experiences with grief to understand the grief of a fangirl? What does that grief look like? Surely it isn’t the bone deep ache that comes with the loss of a loved one. If it is, why? How have fans become so emotionally involved with an actor that they grieve so hard, so deeply? And I guess my real question/concern is this: Is such grief healthy?
I’ll admit that I’m also confused as I just don’t see anything to grieve over. The source of the grief seems to stem directly from the good things that are happening in Richard Armitage’s career and how that effects the fandom. We want him to be successful in his endeavors, don’t we? Like Judiang, I see the lessening of Richard Armitage’s personal relationship with his fans as an inevitability. Like Servetus, I’m very much looking forward to the influx of new fans that are sure to come, and the potential positive changes that will bring about it the fandom.
If you are grieving, I don’t begrudge you your feelings. I just want a better understanding.
Update: Because this post has been linked elsewhere, I feel the need to address something. This post was not “directed” at Judi. To me that seems to imply I was spoiling for a fight. I had a reaction to the choice of one word that prompted a lot of thought on my part and led me to this post. Judi, if you thought I was “directing” this post at you, I apologize for that.