I could never, ever, imagine what they thought about at 3am in the morning, if they cried or laughed, or if they were in pain. If they required medication or were seeking some kind of alternative therapy they had read about online. If they struggled to stand or even sit.
I don’t know if they were angry they were dying or if they had accepted it. If they drank copious amounts of tea or copious amounts of scotch as they looked out tall windows to the world outside upon people hurrying by simply getting on with their day.
There were no leaks of doctor visits. There were no rumours. There were no “un-named friends” as sources selling tidbits to magazines. There were no jilted exes, no medical receptionists looking for some easy money. There were no Facebook updates. No funny little Instagram hospital selfies that trailed into outer space with strangers’ emoticons and Love You and Sending a million prayers and My heart is broken and You are the most amazing person on earth, this can’t be happening.
In a world of over-sharing, they chose privacy, true intimacy. They didn’t “honour” their fans by taking them (via blogposts, magazine spreads and social media accounts) on their “last journey”. In a world where we can see what Anna from Arkansas is eating for breakfast and what Bill from Brisbane thinks about Brad Pitt’s youthful looking face, there were no words, no images, no whispers.
Again, I don’t know because I have never met them, but you would have to think that people close to them must have loved them dearly and people who had to book them into medical appointments, or even cleaned their houses, must have respected them enough to not take the obvious opportunity that was in front of them for a quick buck or five minutes of fame. It has been done so many times before. It’s the second last scene of the celebrity last-months-on-earth plotline.
They must have been decent men for so many to protect them.
Watch the film clip for David Bowie’s Lazarus:
You get the feeling that these two men, while they respected their fans and lived with their fame, didn’t measure themselves by either. Their measure, one feels, was what they produced as artists, by how they loved and how they were loved back.
As the tributes flow it’s clear it was always “the work” with Bowie and Rickman. The creativity, the vulnerability that lives inside that, the courage, fear, intelligence, tenacity and talent that took them to places they would never have dreamt about as two working class boys in the U.K. (Rickman’s father was a factory worker, his mother a stay at home mum; Bowie’s father worked for Barnardo’s children’s charity, his mother a waitress).