How is it that after we leave, our thoughts are worth so much more than when we are here? When we die, why do we become bigger than life?
When a celebrity passes away the world goes into shell shock presenting the phrases everyone is so accustomed to hearing; ‘they were so young’, ‘they had so much talent’ or ‘what a waste.’ This is probably because a celebrity is someone we think will never die. They become someone we always read about, see on TV and hear about in the news. Them not being there would be just unthinkable to us after we have watched them grow and build careers. We come to believe that they are invincible and indestructible. Some would argue that their death is no more significant than a person who has never lived in the limelight. This is a true argument however, to have the world come together for the death of one individual that dedicated their talents to make others happy is something that I think is pretty momentous.
Its not very often I pick up a novel that gets me thinking so much, but this particular one has managed to make my brain go into overdrive. ‘Love Letters to the Dead’ by Ava Dellaira
is a book about a young girl who is trying to brace the struggle of losing her sister. She is given an English assignment to write letters to brave figures who have passed away. These people include Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger and many more. The main character addresses these people, who each offered so much to our culture, as an attempt to face the demons adversity has to offer her.
This book gave me plenty of food for thought. It got me thinking who I would address my letters to and how I would draw upon the strength of them to better myself in times of doubt or trouble. I personally suffer from anxiety so this idea of allowing myself to look to others who have passed on as a form of strength was an idea I was open to. These people can be dead or still living either way I found that it is possible to draw upon their experiences and incorporate how they handled each hurdle into my personal struggles.
I narrowed my letter down to a brave individual who has passed away but lead a life that many people look up to and attempt to embody. This person is someone who was really the first celebrity to die that left me in total shock and heartbreak. Americans nicknamed the brave animal activist ‘The Crocodile Hunter’ but to me he is plain old Steve Irwin. He taught me to be brave and fight for my passions. He never showed fear and never once backed down. I remember sitting in the living room in my pyjamas with a sippy cup watching him bravely wrestle alligators and lions whilst risking his life to teach me lessons about animal conservation. It went a lot deeper however than his basic lesson for me. His death shook me. Steve Irwin was the first public figure to show me that strength and determination is possible in situations that can make you feel vulnerable and weak. I would write my letter to thank him. His death was so sudden and sharp. I often think about his lessons still to this day with an attempt to enforce them when I am having a rough time or allowing thoughts into my brain that damage my self-esteem. He left the world too soon and I can only imagine what it would be like if he were still here.
I highly recommend this novel, but if you have negative experiences surrounding issues such as suicide or drug issues I would advise you steer clear due to the themes she addresses within her novel.
Who would you write your letter to? Is it someone you have lost? Is it someone the world grieves over losing?
Please read this book.