I just found out that Sharon, the wife of Richard's foreman at work (the one he did the car mural for) died today. She was quite young, in her mid-50s, and seemingly healthy aside from back trouble and some clinical depression that struck her out of the blue a few years ago. She was also an extremely nice woman, always interested in other people's thoughts and opinions, hugely proud of her children and grandchildren. She made fantastic meals for us while Richard was doing the mural, and we had some great conversations. Like me, she was a Norwegian who adored Christmas and went all-out with the decorating ("I have stuff squirreled away that my husband doesn't even know about yet!")
This is just a couple of months after her husband suffered three heart attacks (making four altogether). He, too, is just a genuine and nice person - a pleasure to be around. He's fit as a fiddle and works out religiously, but his heart isn't good. I really feel for him and for their family. I think everyone who ever met Sharon will miss her terribly.
It's also been a sad couple of weeks for actors: Brad Renfro and Heath Ledger dead from drug overdoses. I had just seen Renfro in Larry Clark's Bully a few nights earlier, and even though I'm no fan of Clark I was impressed by every young actor/actress in it (I also liked Renfro in Ghost World). And Ledger, I think, was destined to be a great actor or least a great movie star. Just two years ago he was in so many films I thought I'd never get away from him.
Whatever personal demons were riding these very young, very gifted men, I hope that their untimely and unnecessary deaths will bring others with drug problems or depression to seek out the help they need. No one needs to end his own life in the prime of life; the pain does go away with enough time, support, and effort. Don't deprive the world and those who love you of your unique gifts.
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