As a going-on-20-year-old, death is something I never thought I would have to deal with. Yes, death is common and there is always a potential for it, but you never anticipate it. You never expect it.
When I was 10 or 11 years old, my great grandmother passed away. I used to visit her in Pennsylvania every summer as a child. We weren't too terribly close, but I valued the time I got to spend with her and I loved her so much. That was my first encounter with the loss of something or someone other than a pet.
The next death I encountered was probably about five years later, in 2013. I woke up on July 13th to the news that Cory Monteith had died from a drug overdose. I was absolutely devastated. No, I hadn't known him personally, but "Glee" was a huge part of my life in middle and high school and I loved and related to every character. I always found myself rooting for Finn, even when he was insufferable.
I used to spend hours watching Cory Monteith interviews and his movies. When I found out he died, I absolutely lost it. I cried for days. I think the most devastating part was that it was so unexpected. He was so young and had so much promise. He was reportedly engaged and his career was really taking off. So why did he deserve such a fate?
Five days ago, my world came crashing down upon me (again). Friday afternoon, shortly after arriving home from what was supposed to be a happy weekend, the words "Mac Miller, ex-boyfriend of Ariana Grande, dies at 26" flashed across the top of my phone. I read it about five times before I understood what it was saying. I started hyperventilating and going into a severe panic attack. Uncontrollable sobs soon followed.
I was so confused. I was immensely heartbroken. He had died from an overdose, but wasn't he supposedly doing fine? Wasn't he getting better? It seemed like he was thriving. He had just released an album, which was doing quite well, and he had a huge tour coming up. I have never felt more blindsided in my entire life. I was planning on buying my tickets for his show at my college campus that weekend. Now I am never going to be able to say that I saw him live, which I had always wanted to do.
I started getting into Mac's music in the eighth grade. I memorized "Donald Trump" within days and downloaded almost all of his music. The summer before my freshman year of high school, "Watching Movies with the Sound Off" was released. That album was so innovative and inspiring to me at the time. I had never heard rap and hip-hop like that before. The album got me through my first year of high school.
Two years later, "GO:OD AM" was released, right after I started my junior year of high school (and, more notably, my first year of college). Again, that album was so different and so creative. It got me through yet another one of the hardest transitions of my life.
A year after that, he released "The Divine Feminine," the slowest and most R&B-infused of his records. This one paid tribute to Earth's greatest mystery: the woman. What amazed me about this album was how different it was from Mac's other music but it was still so him. It was one of the most beautiful pieces of art my ears had ever had the pleasure of enjoying. Again, this album got me through my final year of high school and college.
Fast-forward to just a few months ago. Mac released three new singles and dropped an album announcement after almost two years of nothing. At the beginning of August, he dropped "Swimming." This album is one of my favorites he's ever put out and is bursting out the seams with raw emotion. The album tells the story of his life, who he is, who he was, and who he's grown to be. I never thought I'd have to listen to it to mourn his death.
Mac was a major part of my high school years and was a key aspect of my growth from a lonely eighth-grader to an even-lonelier college senior. During the past seven years, his MTV show and his music got me through some painfully difficult transitions and life moments. Perhaps the most painful part about his death is how sudden and unexpected it was. You never think that someone who seems so strong is going to lose their fight.
Mac Miller was one of the most creative and innovative artists I have ever had the pleasure of coming across. He was a legend, and I hope he gains the recognition and appreciation he rightfully deserved during his life. He will always be one of my favorite artists of all time and I cannot fathom the idea of him not being here to grow up with me; to get me through my struggles. It breaks my heart to know that he couldn't make it through his own struggles.