In spite of the fact that most of us will never meet the stars who fill our television and cinematic screens, we often feel we "know them." And so when someone dies, as Heath Ledger did today, there is a mourning that occurs. It's confusing, I think, but sadness is sadness and when I heard about it, of course I was shocked. And saddened. I never knew this man and yet something felt severely wrong the moment I heard of his passing.
It's sadder, still, the way these people are covered in the media. I understand that with fame comes a certain level of scrutiny. We've come to expect it and it's the other side of the coin that keeps them, perhaps, in the limelight. I certainly watched a bit of the coverage, myself, curious to know what had happened...why such a young, successful person was no longer among the living. But as I sat here working on my computer with the television playing in the background, I heard a woman asking a doctor to tell her, "Do you think it was suicide...?" (with this certain tone in her voice - you know the tone I mean,) then follow that up with some alternative suggestions. According to what she'd just said, this doctor was merely a doctor...not one who knew Ledger at all. Then my sadness for the loss of this talent, and the father, son, brother, lover and friend he was to people who are genuinely mourning right now...the loss of someone they do know and love, was laced with something else. With something icky that led to my turning off the set entirely.
When is it just too much? These days it seems usually it's too much.