Luke Perry's teenage daughter has hit back at trolls for criticising her grieving process after the sudden death of her father. The 52-year-old star of Beverley Hills, 90210, suffered a stroke and died surrounded by family and friends on 5 March.
"Since my dad died I have received a lot of attention online," writes Sophie Perry, 18, in a post to Instagram on Thursday. Adding that while most of the attention has been positive, "some people just can't be nice".
"I did not ask to be thrown into some virtual spotlight, and while I don't mean to offend anybody, I'm also not going to cater to any one else's needs and beliefs," Perry writes. "Most importantly, I am going to laugh and smile and live my normal life."
Describing that she is "hurt and sad and crying and beside myself" at the loss of her father, she adds: "I'm not going to sit in my room and cry day in and day out until the internet has deemed it appropriate for me to do otherwise."
Perry continues, "If you knew my dad you would know he wouldn't want me to. So you shouldn't either. So to those of you shaming me for my language and my wardrobe and most disgustingly, my grieving process, do us both the favour and just unfollow. It's a waste of both of our time."
Grief and emotional health expert, Dr Sarah Wayland of the University of Sydney, says that despite people telling each other 'there is no rule book for grief' there are deeply ingrained social views about how a person 'should' behave when they are mourning the loss of a loved one.
"Grief is a multi-faceted kaleidoscope of emotions that can look different for everyone," she says. "Luke Perry's daughter is correct, we have no right to comment on the experiences of another. In order to honour a life we don't have to cry all day, we don't have to dress or react or respond with sorrow as a way to prove how much we loved the person who is no longer here."
According to Dr Wayland, "research into the experience of sudden loss tells us that people are living with both the trauma and disbelief of the way a person died as well as the process of accepting that they are no longer physically here."
As such, she notes, "navigating a path within this 'new' normal requires all of us to step back and allow people to survive, however they wish."