My heart just felt like it had been ripped out.
CNN Breaking news on my laptop: Heath Ledger found dead.
I bonded with that guy . . . with the Ennis Del Mar in "Brokeback Mountain.”
I was that same age in the 60’s. I didn’t have the guts to live my true identity. It would be decades before I had the courage to break from that horrible closet. It was after a divorce where I refused to meet the marriage counselor because I was terrified that a skilled counselor would get it out of me that I was gay. I could not deal with that reality at that time.
When I first heard that there was a “gay cowboy romance” being made into a movie, I had to find out what this story was about. I found the book. Read it several times. And my heart was broken. In so many frightening ways, I read that story as a story about me.
Most of the scenes in that movie were filmed out west of Calgary, Canada. I grew up in Calgary. That home-sick scenery made the story even more compelling to me.
I bought a copy of the movie script. A copy of the sound track. But I could only watch the movie once. The pain too intense.
I asked my children to watch it. To let this be a venue to help them understand their father, what it was like.
I had come out to my children the year before. It hurt them terribly. To have a gay father was beyond their comprehension or acceptance. How many stories do we hear of a child rejected by his or her parents for being the person they are? And how many stories do we hear of the parent being rejected by the children?
And my children refused to see it. To see Brokeback Mountain.
I want to talk to my children tonight about this. About Brokeback. About Ennis. About Jack. About Ledger Heath. But I dare not.
I can’t watch movie again. The DVD is still in its plastic shrink wrap.
Someday when I can watch it with another who also knows. Who also understands. Who also cries the tears of a wrenching kind of angst.
My friend from ‘The Saunter’s Journal,” http://saunterersjournal.blogspot.com/ wrote a couple of weeks ago:
“Speaking of death & dying, I've always believed that when mourning we actually feel sorry for ourselves as other people's deaths only bring greater awareness of our own imminent passing. Very selfish exercise, when you come to think of it, but it must have some redeeming quality.”Redeeming quality?
And now there are two dead from Brokeback Mountain.
And the embodiment of Ennis Del Mar.
And the pain lives on.
The pain of Brokeback Mountain. Of what that story did for me. Meant to me.
The pain of what that story revealed. The pain in their lives. The pain within me.
And the selfish exercise of mourning makes me sick at heart.
And as tragic as the lives of Ennis and his soul-mate Jack were, it wrenches the pain within me that I have tried my best to deny.
And I know that I am not alone.