Fast & Furious 7 fans still strongly suffering loss of Paul Walker. Two months after his untimely death, loving fans are tweeting and posting on social media sites. Grief heavy, fans are hurting. Psychologists explain the stages of grief and loss as a part of life. The discussion on grief and loss is not always an easy subject. Families struggle with handling varying degrees of emotion. So do fans. Just how to handle the grief of popular entertainers transitioning isn’t discussed in popular culture. A tragic death can be even harder to process than one that is expected. It can be a very uncomfortable conversation.
It is deemed a problem when a person is unable to express grief or expresses it for extended amounts of time. The thing is there is no way to measure what or how much grief is appropriate, even in situations where the only connection to the deceased was that of fan or admirer.
In cases where there is a delayed reaction to grief, people watch and wonder when a person will finally break. Prior to the break, denial, the first stage of grief and loss is listed as the culprit. In the case of Walker, there were tweets and news stories posted with people claiming Walker had faked his death. Although extreme, this type of reaction can be listed under the category of denial, or maybe just mean heartedness. It depends on the lens being used to view comments. In social media, grief plays out in real time, with fans sharing feelings and emotions as they experience them.
The second and third stages of grief and loss are anger and bargaining. Again, in Walker’s case, once denial was dealt with some fans expressed anger over the loss of a young, virile and handsome man in the prime of his life and career. This is still a hard time for Fast & Furious 7 fans still strongly suffering loss of Paul Walker. It is common to feel angry when people leave this plane. Anger over them being gone, and knowing there is nothing that can be done to bring them back. The third stage, bargaining, was seen quoted in news stories that questioned the insanity of being on vacation and having this tragedy happen. Perhaps, if he hadn’t taken that street none of this would have happened. When time is up, it’s time to check out.
Depression, the fourth stage, may have acted as a trigger for Walker fans who have lost loved ones in car crashes or fires. These fans will undoubtedly internalize and suffer more acutely because of memories that surface. Feelings of deep sadness happen during this stage. It may be harder for persons suffering a similar loss to get excited over the upcoming sequel.
The final stage of grief and loss is acceptance. The person is gone never to return. In Walker’s case, many fans will find comfort and even joy from the big screen as they remember Walker and the enjoyment he brought to others through his acting. Walker’s good friend and Fast & Furious 7 co-star, Tyrese turned 35 by honoring his friend and continuing in the land of the living. On spending his earth day in Dubai celebrating, he says “I went to smile again.”
Tyrese misses his friend but believes that Walker would not want him in a depressed funk. He told E! Online,“I’ve never seen him sad or cry.” Tyrese said he is catching flak from fans over his decision. Friends, family, and fans can all choose how to honor the loss of loved ones, and people who touched their lives, even amid controversy from those choosing to handle things in another way.
Social media bring people together for a variety of reasons. With popular culture and trending topics, people are able to share information and feelings and find a bit of reprieve from hurtful situations. Fast & Furious 7 fans still strongly suffering loss of Paul Walker can take comfort in finding their way through the grief process, with one another and through solitary methods.
By C. Imani Williams