Heath Ledger: Our Fascination With Celebrity Grief

I can’t decide who I’m more disgusted by: the paparazzi who camped out in front of Michelle Williams’ Brooklyn home and snapped a photo of her with baby Matilda, the gossip websites who bought and posted both the pictures and the video (Us Weekly and TMZ, we’re talking about you), or myself, for actually giving them what they wanted for it — page views. Needless to say, Heath Ledger’s death has been eating at me and lots of other women I know, but I’ll only speak for myself.

Outside of the fact that I clearly get a lil’ too much out of watching the lives of celebrities, this particular event is hitting kind of hard. I watched the tape of Michelle Williams arriving home, surrounded by paparazzi, with a sad fascination with the pain she must be going through, because I can’t imagine it myself. Obviously Heath was talented, but more than that, he was young and he was a father. I don’t know many 20-something fathers and I certainly don’t know anyone in my age group that has died so suddenly and with that much to lose. Maybe it’s the fact that kids and marriage are not far off in my future and the thought of losing someone at this age, and having a child, is an unimaginable tragedy. Watching Michelle gives a little glimpse into what that might be like. Her pain doesn’t give me pleasure, by any means, but I’m truthfully very sad for her and strangely curious to see how she handles it, as if it might reflect back what I would do and feel in the same instance.