My heart goes out to Heath Ledger’s family as they deal with his death and the circumstances surrounding it. I came back to the office after getting an afternoon snack of Baked Frito Lays and white chocolate macadamia nut cookies from Subway to hear my boss exclaim, “Heath Ledger died.”
As the news made its way around the farm of cubicles, you could hear shocked gasps. “Oh my God.” “What?!? That’s so sad.”
As a celebrity gossip fanatic, I’m stunned and saddened to hear that the lead actor in one of my favorite films, Brokeback Mountain, died suddenly today. I think it’s extremely courageous for someone to take on the role that he did in that film and I applaud him for his acting. The cause of death (suicide or accidental overdose) I’m sure will be debated for the next few weeks. I refuse to believe that someone his age with his future and the fact that he was a loving father would take his own life. I find it really improbable.
While I was thinking of him today and how a little girl has now lost her father, I kept thinking of my own family–the memories I have of my parents.
This is what I remember most. I remember my dad working graveyard so he could pick us up from school every afternoon. He was always there without fail. Never late, always early. He’d sit in our blue Nissan (he was the only one in our family who could drive a stick-shift) and read the paper while waiting for us. I would come out of class and scan the cars on the street, looking for my dad.
I remember my mom getting ready for work in the morning, setting out grapefruit and oatmeal on the kitchen table for breakfast. It’s ironic considering I now eat oatmeal every day at work, but I hated it then. I would stir and stir, thinking it would evaporate, and she’d get mad. I knew I couldn’t leave until I finished it all.
I’d insist, “But I ate all the grapefruit!”
She was stern. “That’s not filling enough. You have to finish your oatmeal.” Then she’d go back to the bathroom to finish getting ready. So I had to eat it.
I never thought about this today, but I don’t recall my parents ever mentioning fatigue. I come almost every day, declaring I’m tired. But they never did. My dad was always happy to take us to the library. My mom was never too tired to look at our homework or give us her own arithmetic exercises to complete. “Finish this by the time I get home tomorrow or else.” Then the next day, she’d smile when I gave her my completed assignment. “Oh, good job! Look, I bought you these lacy socks as a treat.” But I knew that if I hadn’t done her assignment correctly, I wouldn’t have simply missed out on a treat. I would’ve gotten beat.
Then thinking of my parents made me think of my sister as a mother. We went to the playground the other weekend with Dominic and even though she’s pregnant and tired, she was running around the sand, making sure that Dominic was entertained. I was sitting on the bench, eating shrimp chips. “Sorry, I just wanted to have a snack. Kinda tired. I swear, I’m watching him! Don’t worry!!” And Therese would look at me with a crooked grin on her face.
I feel so blessed to be surrounded by a healthy family that is close to me in the Bay Area. I am very lucky.