Written by Kayleigh Dray
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.
We may feel as if we know everything about them thanks to their roles in Sex And The City, but we need to remember that Sarah Jessica Parker’s grief over Willie Garson’s death is hers and hers alone.
In HBO’s Sex And The City, Sarah Jessica Parker and Willie Garson played best friends Carrie Bradshaw and Stanford Blatch. And, away from the small screen, the pair were every bit as close; indeed, Garson recently told Us Weekly that he and SJP “were friends for 10 years before the show.”
“We talk almost every day,” he added.
It is little wonder, then, that SJP is very much still in the early stages of grieving for Garson, who sadly passed away this week at the age of 57.
The news was confirmed yesterday via a statement from HBO/HBO Max, which read: “Willie Garson was in life, as on screen, a devoted friend and a bright light for everyone in his universe.
“He created one of the most beloved characters from the HBO pantheon and was a member of our family for nearly 25 years. We are deeply saddened to learn of his passing and extend our sincere condolences to his family and loved ones.”
Since then, social media has been flooded with messages of condolence from Garson’s fellow Sex And The City stars – including Chris Noth, who famously portrays Mr Big in the SATC series, films, and spinoff show, And Just Like That.
Sharing a photo of SJP and Garson to his Instagram feed, Noth captioned it simply: “Willie.”
Responding to Noth’s post, SJP – who many have called out for not yet lending her voice to the slew of online tributes to Garson – commented: “Thank you dearest Chris.
“I’m not ready yet.”
In just those four little words, the Hocus Pocus actor has summed up a wealth of emotions. Because, while social media puts a great deal of pressure on people to go public with their feelings – especially in times of heartbreak, it’s worth remembering that grief is messy and confusing and uniquely individual to the person experiencing it.
As such, SJP’s grief is hers and hers alone. If she wants to go public with it, that should be her choice: if she wants to take the time to process what’s happened, to spend time with loved ones, to nurse her heart away from the glare of the internet, she should absolutely feel able to do so without fear of judgement from strangers.
To quote clinical professional counsellor Nick Frye’s article Self-Care In Grief: The Myth Of Keeping Busy: “Every relationship is unique and therefore we all have our own unique experience with grief… even a well-meaning friend who has had a parallel loss does not know how you feel.
“What we all do share is the experience of a broken heart because we lost someone/thing we love.”
Exactly. We hope, then, that SJP is granted the time, space, and, above all else, the empathy she needs to mourn one of her oldest and dearest friends.
We hope, too, that when she’s ready – if she’s ready – to go public with her grief, the world responds to her words with kindness and support.
After all, that was the resounding message of Garson’s final Twitter post: “Be kind to each other, always.”
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