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.