I think death may be fixated on me too. In the past five years, I have had to deal with five deaths of people who were either related or close to me. That’s an average of one death per year! Go figure. I have no idea why Death has been indiscriminately waving his scythe on significant people in my life.
* * *
It was probably because of the scent/stench of death around me that Yahoo’s link to a photo slideshow of young dead
Hollywood personalities caught my eye. The great Heath Ledger was there of course but I did not expect Jonathan Brandis to have a frame of his own too. He hanged himself at the age of 27.
Brandis was the kid in Never Ending Story 2 and the teen genius in Sea Quest DSV. He was the guy whose face was perpetually brought to our attention by the teen magazines of the 90s. Of course, I NEVER owned any of those magazines because I had a reputation for being the antithesis of adolescence. My classmates however brought volumes of those magazines to school to drool over on lazy afternoons when our physics teacher was being particularly nasty.
It’s always tragic when a young person dies especially by his own hand. What is even more tragic though is what people think or say after. It’s easy to make simple assumptions about a person’s reasons for committing suicide. It’s easy to conclude that he hanged himself because his girlfriend broke up with him or he shot himself because he lost his cat of eight years. But isn’t suicide really precipitated by deeper inner demons, the loss of meaning and purpose, the incomprehensible inherent lack of delight in sunshine and morning breath?
One thing I’ve learned from my preoccupation with death is that people are never simple. Sure, there will always be those individuals who will think in straight cause and effect lines but even they have the potential to shift and sink into inner complex mazes they never even knew existed. The sheer complexity of the human psyche and its demons forbid human judgment.
One of those deaths I witnessed was the result of suicide. If the dead person’s grandmother didn’t have friends in high places, the Church would have declined to say mass for the dead and socialite tongues would have kept on wagging.
Death is death. You’ll never really know till you get to the other side whether you passed away correctly and on time. Truly, who am I to judge? I leave that difficult responsibility to whoever is on the receiving end.