Eternal embrace

It was a chilly but sunny day a little over two years ago when, on a whim, Honey and I decided to drive over two hours to the nearest movie theater that was featuring Brokeback Mountain. The film company was rolling the movie out slowly, part of an ingenious marketing strategy that used word of mouth as its main form of advertising. Online message boards were buzzing with tidbits and spoilers about this groundbreaking film that featured two gorgeous, young Hollywood actors in the most unexpected roles.

We arrived early, took our seats at the rear of the theater, and then watched in amazement as the room filled to capacity. Not bad for a film showing in the middle of the day and dealing with a controversial subject.

But that was what was so astounding about the movie; aside from a brief physical scene early in the film, there was nothing that seemed to make anyone in the theater the least bit uncomfortable. This was a story about love, and love doesn’t always fit into our preconceived and somewhat narrow-minded formulas.

While most of the film’s hype had been centered around the tall, dark, and handsome Jake Gyllenhaal, it was Mr. Ledger that caught my attention. He was quiet, brooding, and tortured – probably a reflection of his personality off-camera – and it was terribly easy to fall in love with him.

bbm_shirtsThe saddest part of the film was the ending, where a lonely and dejected Ledger weeps as he looks at a pair of shirts hanging on his closet door – a tattered denim shirt that once belonged to his lover, now hanging embraced inside one of his own.

The news this evening was a shocking lesson in reality, and a reminder that money and fame almost never brings true happiness. I couldn’t help picturing Heath in a terrible moment of despair, something akin to the pain he portrayed in the film. Some reports say that he had been having trouble sleeping recently after playing a rather demonic character in an upcoming movie, which might explain the sleeping pills found by his side.

Many people believe that suicide is a mortal sin, one that will surely send the perpetrator to a place of eternal damnation. I disagree. I just can’t believe that a loving God would punish a person for trying to end their pain. I prefer to think that much like those two shirts at the end of Brokeback Mountain, right now, somewhere up in heaven, God has Heath all wrapped up in his love.

Author: Brian

Blogger. Bookworm. Michael Jackson fanatic. Lives in Kentucky with partner of 12 years and three fabulous felines.

8 thoughts on “Eternal embrace”

  1. This is a really wonderful tribute, Brian. Heath Ledger was beautiful and talented. It’s horrible that he was so quietly tortured. The loudly tortured scream for help, but he just quietly slipped away. I still can’t believe he’s really gone.

  2. This was just so shocking today. I was watching E! and they had a breaking news update. SNL was on, and for a while I thought it was one of their sketches. It’s so hard to believe still. He was so young.

  3. What a heartfelt post.

    I have a different theory but the same ending about suicide. I don’t believe God punishes those who are not in their right mind – and in pain (emotional, physical, etc), you are definitely not in your right mind. God knows our heart, man does not.

    I wrote a piece on suicide (a friend of mine committed suicide less than a month ago). I hope you don’t mind if I post the link here.

  4. Wonderful post.

    We didn’t find out until late last night, during a teaser for the “Today” show. J and I looked at each other in shock, then I went to the computer to see if it was true.

  5. One of the more horrible aspects of this story is that Heath’s parents apparently found out about his death by watching the news. I just cannot imagine their pain.

    However it may be lessened somewhat by the autopsy being performed this morning–some have said that he had pneumonia and mixed the wrong medication, so it may not have been a purposeful overdose or suicide. Still tragic, however.

  6. I still vividly remember the day I saw BBM, and it was on the opening day. A small independent theatre in downtown Berkeley (California) that had three screens. BBM was on all three, and the guy working in the ticket booth was dressed in cowboy gear. Not kidding. It was fantastic. :)

    Heath Ledger will be missed. I can barely wrap my mind around what could have been in terms of his career and development as an actor.

  7. @ Everyone: As the news continues to develop on this story, it appears that his death was unintentional. Although my post implies that he might have committed suicide, it was written from the heart and I don’t see the point of changing it now.

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