Recently, I’ve realized something about my writing : I tend to malinger over some essays for months (like, SIX MONTHS…), but give me a piece of breaking news and I can write a hot-take in a hot-minute!! This was exactly the case for my first essay on The Fix about Mac Miller, death and the dangerous cycle of blame.
When I first heard about Mac Miller’s death last week, I instinctively braced myself for the inevitable shame and blame game. I knew it was about to begin because his death was sudden and unexpected. And when someone dies in that manner, the natural tendency is to scramble and desperately search for answers — to mourn, to heal, to make sense of what’s happened as best we can.
I saw the cruel tweets and Instagram comments aimed at Ariana Grande, Miller’s ex-girlfriend. So over the weekend, I wrote this essay, drawing on my own personal experience following my father’s suicide. Because I’m scared of living in a world where we are so quick to assign blame in someone’s death. I don’t want to live in a world where that sort of shaming is the norm instead of the exception.
Here’s an excerpt of the piece, which I hope will begin to break down that stigma of blame, even if only a little bit…
The best thing we can do for her — and everyone grieving the loss of a loved one — is to let the grieving process take place. Let people mourn in peace without hurling vindictive words at them. Those words are incredibly hurtful, not to mention cruel and damaging. The idea that someone holds another person’s very life in their hands and has the power to determine whether that person lives or dies is a misconception that has no place in the journey following someone’s death.
As much as we’d like to think otherwise, we’re not superheroes who can swoop in and rescue someone. We can do everything to help them, of course, but we don’t have the all-knowing power to save them. And maybe even more importantly, it’s not our job to cure them. We can offer love, hope and compassion, but in the end, everyone on this planet is responsible for their own life.
You can read the full piece here and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat! And of course, feel free to share my essay on Facebook, Twitter or even your local refrigerator. If you share on Twitter, be sure to tag me @melissablake so we can connect! I can’t wait to hear from you! Love you all… xoxo