Note: This post is a personal one. If you’re here for book updates only, you can skip this one. Also, TW for talk of losing a parent.
Whitney Houston died the same day my father passed away.
It’s been almost six years. We’ll start seeing remembrances for Whitney here in a few weeks. A parade of sound bites meant to capture the singer’s voice and life. They’ll play “I Will Always Love You” ad nauseam for a brief period, and then the world will move on. I’ll still be shuffling through pictures of my dad—all of which he had a pretty epic beard in, even my baby pictures he’s rocking a beard—and thinking about loss and transformation and growth. Personal, long-term grief stuff. Normal process stuff. I’ll probably also make an extra donation to Barrow Neurological Foundation (reminder: if you buy the Geeky Giving anthology, all money goes to them) in his memory.
I wrote a book that I’m probably not supposed to talk about yet—traditional publishing is dark and full of secrets—but it deals thematically with how we change when we lose a parent. It also has faeries and alternate dimensions and fringe science, because it’s still me writing the book, y’all. Thinking about what comes in next in that potential series, though, brings me back around to how our private grief can become public when its shared with a celebrity’s death.
I had a good friend lose a parent on Monday. The same day the SFF community lost the legendary Ursula K. Le Guin. My social media feeds were filled with friends sharing stories about the first time they read Earthsea or Left Hand of Darkness. They talked about Ursula’s inspirational words. And my friend was trying to reconcile her feelings about the loss of her parent amid an outpouring of love and mourning that wasn’t for her.
It reminded me of the loss of my father for obvious reasons, but also for that unique sense that everyone was losing something powerful, but the familial loss put me alone. That wasn’t true, though. The social media chasm twisted my perception. If you have lost a loved one, remember others want to hear your stories. We want your voice. We want to join in remembrance with you, and help you find the bright spots in a dark time.
And if you’re mourning Le Guin, I’m here, too. Her words opened up doors and the love of science fiction and fantasy for so many of us. We should celebrate her life and works. I just also want to be there for any of my friends or readers who need to honor the lesser-known, more personal heroes.
Either way, you’re not alone.