Grieving for Fallen Stars


This week, giants have fallen. The earth is still trembling from the jolt.

I don’t think of myself as someone who idolizes rock stars and actors, but I have been deeply affected by the sudden deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman.

David Bowie as Jareth, the Goblin King (Labyrinth)

I am struggling to understand why I am so upset at the death of complete strangers. I never met either man. I never even saw them in person. I never wrote them a fan letter (and now never will). I know them only from their work, some of which I love.

Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon (Sense and Sensibility)

Why are these deaths so troubling? Perhaps the death of all great artists looms large for those who are touched by their work.

Maybe it’s the fact that they both died of cancer at the age of 69. I think everyone should live until 80 at least. What work might they have done given another eleven years of life?

Or could it be as simple as this? They remind me that we are all mortal, even the talented and hard-working creative geniuses who seem to light up the sky without trying.


Published by

Kit Dunsmore

Kit Dunsmore has believed in the magic underlying the muggle world since she was a child searching for the Shetland pony pooka she was sure was hiding in her back yard. She learned early on that books were magic doors into other worlds, and that she could revisit a beloved character or place by opening the right book. As she grew, she decided she wanted to make magic with words, too. Today Kit writes about things she loves: poodles and dragons, witches and artists, quirky underdogs and loyal friends. Whether her setting is 6th-century England, the imaginary Twelve Kingdoms, or an art-obsessed version of modern America, magic always finds its way into her story. She enjoys turning fairy tales inside out and watching characters sacrifice everything to reach their goal, but she also believes in happy endings. When she isn't writing, Kit experiences magic by making things with her hands. Over the years, she's made quilts, fabric sculptures, collages, sweaters, and blank books. Her newest interest is learning how to spin her own yarn, a skill guaranteed to strengthen one of her many delusions: that she is a self-sufficient pioneer woman. She also thinks she is a hobbit, a witch, an artist, and a good cook. Living in the foothills of Colorado, Kit enjoys the giant skies and prairie landscapes which suit her need for wide open spaces. In addition to hiking through glorious scenery with her husband or imagining herself living in the Middle Ages, Kit works as a pillow for her miniature poodle and polishes the next small piece of her handmade life.

2 thoughts on “Grieving for Fallen Stars”

  1. Hi Kit,
    I am totally in the same space as you are. Then I saw that Celine Dion’s husband had died Thursday and now today I see that actor Dan Hagerty (of Grizzly Adams fame) has also died. I think I’m in a funk about these deaths because I was in my teens when I first learned of David Bowie (saw him on either Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert or Wolfman Jack’s The Midnight Special) and Dan Hagerty (I was totally into Grizzly Adams). In a way, their passings make me feel me age (like my childhood is dying) and, like you, I am feeling my own mortality. The other truly weird thing is that they all died from cancer.

    P.S. I love the Goblin King’s hair!


    1. You’ve put your finger on part of the problem. Knowing them most of my life means I take them for granted and expect them to be there forever. If they’re gone, then I must be getting old!

      I know that as we grow older, there will be fewer weddings and more funerals. I just didn’t know it would be now.


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