Grief & Paparazzi

October 29, 2023

I’m aimlessly scrolling social media when a familiar face pops up on the screen. It’s my favorite Dateline journalist, Keith Morrison. Immediately I’m filled with agony over what I’m watching. I’m angry that this video exists, that this type of journalism exists. He’s being filmed in fresh grief. The news of Matthew Perry’s death, his stepson, has just broke. It’s everywhere. You cannot escape the headlines and the “rest in peace” posts. 

But what I’m seeing isn’t a picture of Matthew Perry being honored and remembered. What I’m seeing is a father, a mother, a stepfather, friends and family being followed in their cars, flashes from cameras so bright it illuminates the entire vehicle. I’m watching moments being captured that are not mine to see, not ours to see. I shut down my app immediately. 

This man, this family, should be free from this harsh invasion of privacy. I cannot imagine if there were cameras and film crews recording as my mother’s lifeless body was being taken away on a stretcher. I cannot imagine if there were paparazzi snapping pictures as my family and I sat in the initial minutes and moments of my mother’s death. 

We don’t need pictures of someone else’s grief. 

Society doesn’t need to see videos of family at the scene of a loved one’s death. 

These moments are delicate and vulnerable and intimate and they are not our’s to observe. They are not ours to witness. Not everyone is worthy of witnessing this kind of human experience. 

I’m praying so fiercely that a shift in our society happens to allow grief and death to be the sacred and private moments they should be. There is a time and place to be there for people, to wrap them in love, support and comfort. This isn’t it. 

Let them grieve. Please, let them grieve. 

xox, Chels

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A wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.

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