Tuesday, January 22, 2008

On the Death of Heath Ledger

The older I get the more painful I find it to hear that a young adult has died.

When a child dies, a parent dies twice. Parents don't distinguish between their own lives and that of their children. Still, even I know I would jump in front of a tiger if it would allow a child to live. I already know how I turned out. The child's future is a mystery.

Young adults are different. At the university gym where I work out, I feel sometimes as if I'm among gods. In the locker room I hide my lipid-pocked body as the young women bounce past me brash and healthy, rose tattoos on their ankles. The difference between them and children is that these young adults know who they are. They know that the best is still to come. They'll be stronger tomorrow than they are today. One morning, they rose up singing.

Young men take longer to grow. Often they're around thirty before they develop a sense of the future and the energy to plan for it--plan, that is, to build something more than a mere livelihood. It is then, when he develops the filled-out physique of maturity, that a young man can make commitments, if he ever will; it is the time when his elders become his peers.

This is where Heath Ledger was--a fully realized human being at the most beautiful time of his life. Then he spread his wings and took to the sky.


Loralynn said...

I am commenting, not so much on your subject of Heath Ledger, as the rest of your post. It borders on beautiful. Odd you might think, that I feel what you said is beautiful, but let me explain. Your second sentence moved me to tears. Silly I know, as I have never lost a child and I hope I never do. I am very empathic emotionally and having four children, I can't truely imagine, but I can sense, the depths of sadness a parent must feel. I watched the horror my Grandmother went through when my Aunt died in her 50's. Even though we "already knew who she was" as you say, the Mother's grief my Grandmother felt could not have been greater than if it had been a young child.

I can relate to your comments about the young women at the gym so well. I always hope that they can take a moment and appreciate the wonderful place they are in at the moment. I know they don't though, as I used to be one of those women and I never took notice when I was young. I guess that is the nature of the young, always looking forward and missing what is right in front of them.

Your comments about the young men really hits home for me. Three of my children are boys. I say boys, but they are in various stages of becoming full fledged men. My youngest boy is thirteen and just learning about what it means to become a young man. My second oldest boy is seventeen and struggling with the beginning responsibilities of BEING a young man. My oldest who is eighteen is just finishing up his freshman year in college and has truely stepped on the path of becoming a REAL adult.

I hope you don't mind my verboseness on your post, I just wanted to share with you why it touched me so.

FididdlyDaily said...

Thank you! I was afraid it might be too sentimental, so it's good to know it was okay!