David Bowie's Funeral Will Be A Private Affair, But The Family Has A Special Message For Fans

This has been a very emotional week for fans of British entertainers, as we lost not one but two great legends. On Monday, the world had to grapple with the fact that David Bowie had passed away at the age of 69, claimed by cancer — the same disease that would claim Alan Rickman at he same age a couple of days later. Now, the family of the legendary singer has released details about Bowie's funeral, but fans shouldn't expect to get the opportunity to attend, even if it's just to stay on the outskirts and leave tokens of their love for the musician who helped to change the game. According to his family's statement, the funeral will be a private affair. And yet fans shouldn't despair that they're losing the opportunity to make their regard for Bowie clear. There are plenty of other ways to commemorate his life and his legend.

"The family of David Bowie is currently making arrangements for a private ceremony celebrating the memory of their beloved husband, father and friend. They ask once again that their privacy be respected at this most sensitive of times," they wrote on Facebook on Thursday. "We are overwhelmed by and grateful for the love and support shown throughout the world. However, it is important to note that while the concerts and tributes planned for the coming weeks are all welcome, none are official memorials organized or endorsed by the family. Just as each and every one of us found something unique in David's music, we welcome everyone’s celebration of his life as they see fit."

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It would be easy, as a fan of the legend, to be upset to hear that the family won't be holding any sort of public memorial or concert, but it shouldn't be. In the first place, as his family, it is their right to grieve for their loss in any way that they wish. The fact that they even took a moment during these hard times to share their plans with fans is a real show of strength. But, even better, they also took the time to point out to fans that, while other memorials and tributes might not be endorsed by the family, they also refuse to begrudge anyone the right to celebrate Bowie's life the way they see fit. Whether that means the many tributes to Bowie that have been erected in London, the fact that Bowie's music is breaking records in the wake of his death, or whether that means organizing a fan memorial concert of some kind — "each and every one of us found something unique in [Bowie's] music," and how we choose to grieve is up to us.

So make music videos overlaying clips from Bowie's life with a mash-up of his popular songs. Erect large photos of him and lay flowers before it. Host a David Bowie memorial party in which you watch his concerts, play his music, and celebrate his musical contributions. Dress up as some of his famous on-stage personas. Organize a benefit concert to raise money for his favorite charities, or for his family directly. But however you choose to remember the profound effect that Bowie's music had on you as a person, you as a musician, or you as a fan of music, as long as you're not hurting anyone, then it's your right to remember him as you see fit. It was lovely of his family to send that message to fans, and I hope that they know that fans are sending them love and well-wishes back as they adjust to a world in which a talent like Bowie is gone for good.