Why do we mourn for those we have never met?

On Friday I was confronted with the tragic news of the passing of my musical icon, Prince. I stood stunned in silence and disbelief, Prince was immortal, men like Prince don’t ‘die’. This is not real!

Upon hearing of Prince’s death I felt overwhelmed with sorrow, I sobbed and cried for a man I had never met. Somewhere within my heart there was a place always reserved for him, a personal catalogue of Prince memories that belonged to me all of which stemming from my treasured youth to my current middle years. Prince and I were to grow old together, I need his music more today than I did yesterday.

Today I am honouring my grief  because Prince represented something deeper and richer for me than most felt. I spent many hours analysing his lyrics, studying the artworks on his albums and connecting with Prince friends around the world (in a day). My pen pals offered me great solace when no one seemed to understand foolishly, we would share our inner most deepest secrets about Prince in letters that I have kept as a momentum of my youth. This time in my life was before the onslaught of the internet or ’email’, they were simpler times and less complicated with technology. These connections with other people who understood my passion for Prince validated that it was important to set your own rules and create your own pathway in life. It was about human presence and ‘connectedness’ – something we have sadly lost over the years.

The greatest pleasure in my life was being able to purchase Prince’s new music. To be born in an era of musical brilliance is a privilege reserved for those who appreciate talent. I was young and on the journey of self-discovery, Prince was my navigator, my map and my rocket ship to the moon. Prince’s music was my fuel and it was a constant companion in all phases of my life.

Losing an icon is about losing one’s self-identity. I invited Prince into my world and it served a purpose for me. I am able to express who I am because I always felt a connection with him, so losing Prince is about ‘letting go’ of the child who spent hours mesmerised by this extra terrestrial of a human being. Prince represented HOPE that if you applied yourself you surely will succeed, amidst some disappointments but regardless, there was always HOPE. He broke down stereotypes and gender roles, he was humble and an advocate for the disenfranchised and disadvantaged. His music served to re-define the norms, his voice was a tool that reached his masses of fans all united for their love of his talents and now in our grief.

Mourning for an icon is about facing our own death anxiety. We can not deny that all living things must die, accepting this reality is a difficult one. The enormity of their legacies are beyond this realm. My children’s children will be studying Prince for years to come, I hope to be alive to witness this legacy.

         “Legends also succumb to death, she awaits all of us lurching from behind”.

The death of these extraordinary people encourages us to reach out to others and spread good will. United in grief we must console and respect the griever’s passage of rite to feel what needs to be felt for as long as they need too. Losing Prince for me is about cherishing what he practised in life and that was:


I don’t have any more words for now but just silence in recognition of a man who gave us so many fond memories. His music spoke volumes to me so today I feel muted……

Written by Janice Butera                                                         


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What I want from you ©…..

Today I felt your heavy heart as you stood and watched me from afar,
I knew you wanted to say something but you didn’t have the right words,
I felt your compassion as you avoided my sadness,
I can not be fixed, accept me as broken,
I know your avoidance is an act of kindness for you feel my pain too,
But please acknowledge that you can help half my burden too,
If words won’t offer me solace than give me your presence.

Today what I need from you are your ears,
Please offer them to me so I can share with you a story,
I promise you won’t offend me with your questions,
Go ahead and ask me some more….

I love to speak my loved one’s name,
It gives me pride to give them air play,

I won’t lie that your absence hurts me more,
Just a small gesture or call is all I need from you,
You and I both know that what I want right now is my loved
one beside me, in my arms, happy and holy.

This is just what my heart wants and yearns for but my head knows the truth,
So give to me your love and hold me in your arms, make me feel happy
and holy again, give me your presence and don’t avoid my stare…

What I want from you is you, give me what I need…….


Written by Janice Butera

Dear Sir or Madame © …..

To whom it may concern,

I need to address with you my poor state of heart. My sorrow seems to follow me like a shadow and it frightens me. I tried to hide under the covers but it sneaked in and tried to  smother me with it’s darkness. I tried to run and hide from it but it appeared from behind the door. I tried to wash it out in the shower but it stood there starring at me through the mirror. I got into my car and slammed the door but it sat next to me forcing me to navigate to the right when all I wanted to do was turn left!!

Please sir or madam I need you to understand that this sorrow, my grief is now part of me and my whole existence. It’s there when I awake and there when I fall asleep…. It haunts me in my dreams and it penetrates my pores somehow…. It’s altered my DNA and become part of my gene pool…

What I ask from you dear sir or madame is acceptance and a new understanding. I try and I try but I can not escape this; this is my new home now… Please don’t throw rocks at me but rather build a bridge to meet me half way, I can’t walk the whole distance on my own…



So dear sir or madame please companion with me and join me on this grief journey… I don’t need words right now, I just need you to UNDERSTAND that this monster won’t leave me but please don’t be afraid because this is my MONSTER and it won’t harm you…. So please sir or madame introduce yourself and feed my heart your unconditional love. My monster needs your companionship….. So please go ahead and feed it some more love and help me cross that bridge…..


Written by Janice Butera



“The sun kissed tree’s sway back and forth and I am reminded of you and the liveliness that once existed – But all that is now gone” – Janice