Wednesday, January 23, 2008
A young actor named Heath Ledger died today. He was 28 years young. Feeling a little peaky with pneumonia according to his publicist, having difficulty sleeping due to his recent role as the Joker in the next Batman installment and expecting a 10.00am massage to soothe the stress. His time of death was calculated at around 7am.
Our office was abuzz with the sad news. This kid is an Australian heart-throb and most of the kids I work with consider him a peer, they were flabbergasted, sad, curious . . how could someone with so much to live for just die like that - he wasn't a Brittney or a Lindsay.
Did he accidentally take too many sleeping pills? Why book a massage if he intended to commit suicide? Was foul play involved? Or was he a troubled young man and his friends didn't see the signs?
It brought back memories of 1990 when I arrived at work to find out that the mechanic who owned the workshop below my office had blown his brains out. We were shattered. Only a couple of days ago, he'd cheerfuly serviced my car and it broke my heart to wonder how someone could get to such a low and desperate point that they would do this rather than face their family with news of bankruptcy. We found out the reason for his early demise as my mother nursed with his wife. She had no idea of their financial state of affairs. He left her and two teenage sons and a lifetime of questions and regrets.
I can't imagine the depths of depression, loneliness and hopelessness someone would have to reach to commit suicide. And while I've been close to it on occasion, my own father made a failed attempt many years ago (although he was under the influence and I suspect it was just 'dramatics) and don't think it hasn't crossed my mind during the dark times of loss and mourning or financial hardshipo, I'm worth a tidy sum ascending the ether but living worth little thanks to debt. But we didn't . . we didn't go that extra step any more than we would have progressed from that other differential step from smacking a small child to child abuse.
What amazes me is how people can keep their depression to themselves. How they can be absolutely blitzed on brain numbing drugs to get them through the day and nobody notices. How they can be outwardly jolly or even argumentative yet inside sombre and suffering. How they shoulder this seemingly alone. How others don't see the little tell tale signs and giveaways.
This isn't really a post worthy of comments, just thinking out loud. Whether young Heath pulled his own metaphorical trigger, was just ill or met with foul play, he was was a new father, a young man with a stella career behind and in front of him, no money worries, a strong family, good health with prospects and everything to live for . . . I sincerely hope he died of natural causes - tragic as that is, I would hate to think of such a future snuffed out by a moment of irrational thought or that he had perhaps made a plea so veiled that it had gone unnoticed.