Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger's death at age 28 is shocking. The deaths of celebrities always hit me a little funny--in part because I'm such a star-fucker that I feel like I personally know them. The sensitive part of me wants to feel pain and be sad, but the logic part of me says "hey, stupid, you didn't even know the guy." I mean, ultimately it's sad, but does it impact my life? Only because I thought he was a cool actor and I'll miss seeing him in movies.

But, on a grander scale, I think it's the suddenness of the death that bothers me. He was here this morning, and now he's not. I can't adjust to that with anyone, celebrity or not. It's a reminder of how quickly life can cease, and that no one is immune. Every year we each live the day that will eventually be our deathday and then the anniversary of our death. And we do it without knowing. I feel like it's a day that should be figured out and celebrated, just as a birthday would. Imagine how different our society would be if death was revered as much as birth. Of course the idea that today may be the day that I die one, five, or fifty years from now, is unnerving. But I've passed that day either 30 or 31 times already in my lifetime.

In Psychology of Death and Dying we talked last week about 'appropriate death' and how that might be defined. Everyone had different variations on the same theme: older is better. Dying in cardiac arrest at age 28 surrounded by sleeping pills just is not okay, and it's so....beneath him. I'm not saying "beneath him" suggesting he killed himself, but beneath him in that he should have lived to be an old man. There are certain celebrities that we may be able to do without in this world of ours; Heath Ledger wasn't anywhere near that list.

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