Written by Shekar Kapur on November 08, 2008 | 06:33 PM
The incredible reaction world wide to Heath’s death continues to amaze me. I knew that Heath carried in himself an ancient soul that had seen many lifetimes, a soul that Heath himself was uncomfortable with, and I wanted to share the following from Catherine :
Dear Mr. Kapur and the many people that obviously share an interest in your work –
I feel odd to be writing this because it feels like an intrusion into the world of family and friends that actually knew Heath Ledger and had reason to so profoundly feel the loss of his life in such an intimate way. I have to admit that Heath Ledger’s death has affected me in a very uncharacteristic and admittedly unnerving way.
I have never understood the whole “groupy” element that follows the life of a public figure as if they actually know that person. I love escaping into other lives through movies, and I have noticed how a truly gifted actor can leave you feeling as if you have known them. Nonetheless, I have always been able to separate real life from fiction, and I have consistently felt that fans and the press have no right at all to intrude in the actual personal lives of these public figures, no matter how charismatic they are.
Given that, I was and still am unsettled to discover how upset I was to learn of Heath Ledger’s death. It was as if my heart truly stopped for a time, taking my breath with it. I feel as though I’ve been grieving ever since.
In checking the CNN website now and then to see what comforting news I might somehow find, I discovered the kind words that you wrote about your friend Heath, and I subsequently discovered your website. I have to admit that it was a comfort to see how other total strangers to Heath Ledger have been affected by him.
Since his death, I have tried to understand the impact he had on me……
It is obvious that he was an unusually talented actor, but he wasn’t the only one of those (albeit, the best in my opinion). I kept asking myself, was it his body language, his voice, the characteristics of the people he portrayed, all of the latter? He had an undeniable charisma, but it really wasn’t just his phyical appearance. There was something more but I couldn’t put it into words. It was amazing how he could literally give his body over to the character he was playing, as though he was merely a conduit. I kept coming back to his eyes. But even there, it wasn’t how they moved or the expressions on his face…it was as if something was coming THROUGH his eyes.
I concluded too that it must be that intangible element that makes each of us who we are…what I see you and so many others referring to as a soul. But why should I feel so moved, so touched? It seems incredibly presumptious of me to think I feel an actual connection to someone I’ve never met. There again, the messages that you have written about Heath Ledger, and the messages sent to you in response, have been comforting…they have shown me that perhaps I haven’t simply become a “groupy”.
It feels truthful to say I feel like I knew him, yet I humbly admit I did not. I admit too that I would have liked to have met him, although I would never have allowed the intrusion. I have a wonderful husband that I sincerely have loved for 18 years. However, through watching Heath Ledger portray various characters, I have felt an intensity of emotion (love, joy, compassion) that I long to allow myself to feel in my real life with my beloved. For now, I’m too guarded and insecure, but I’m hopeful I can continue to grow. Perhaps my soul has known Heath Ledger’s at some long ago time, although I don’t sense that I have the wisdom of an old soul. Instead, perhaps the gift of an old soul, or angel, in our lives is to awaken our souls to live more truthfully.
Not being much of a believer in organized religions, I find it gives me a sense of peace to think of each of us being a soul traveling between lifetimes and embodying different physical bodies. It helps to think of Heath Ledger as still being “out there” to watch over his loved ones and perhaps to, in some way, some day, touch our souls again.
I hope those that knew him are not offended by the sense of closeness that Heath seems to have engendered in so many strangers like me. I am thankful for the entertainment gifted to us by Heath Ledger, but even moreso for the feeling that he has awakened in my soul. I hope in his honor that I can learn to live with more feeling, more kindness, more gentleness, more compassion.
I am also grateful for the gift of your movie, The Four Feathers, and for the character of Harry that Heath Ledger so magically brought to life. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to share something I have wanted to speak about since Heath’s death, but have felt I had no one with whom to entrust it.