Normally, I am not too interested in reading news about celebrities. Quite frankly, I just think that media should leave them alone, give them some space and privacy. Besides, who really cares if so-and-so took their kids to the mall, or had an appointment with the dentist? It is almost as if being a celebrity completely strips you of the right to a normal life.

However, today’s news of the passing of actress Natasha Richardson really touched me.

Earlier today,  I was casually browsing CNN.com, as I do on a near daily basis. On the front page was a “Top News” story prominently featured, then-entitled ‘Minor’ head injuries may not be, experts say. Although the article was first published due to a vague report about Natasha Richardson being injuried in a skiing incident, the article chiefly focused on the potential severity of even minor head injuries.

“A blow to the head that at first seems minor and does not result in immediate pain or other symptoms can in fact turn out to be a life-threatening brain injury.”

Prior to the outcome of the Natasha’s skiing accident was known, the article went on to briefly tell all that was known about the incident at the time.

“Actress Natasha Richardson was talking and joking after she fell Monday during a beginner ski lesson, according to officials at the Canadian resort where she was staying. But soon after she returned to her room she complained of head pain and was taken to a nearby hospital, then to a larger medical center in Montreal. She was flown by private jet Tuesday to a New York hospital.”

And then, Wednesday afternoon, the following statement was released by the family through Liam Neeson’s publicist:

“Liam Neeson, his sons, and the entire family are shocked and devastated by the tragic death of their beloved Natasha. They are profoundly grateful for the support, love and prayers of everyone, and ask for privacy during this very difficult time.”

Although this blog entry is likely never to reach the eyes or ears of Liam and his family, the Redgrave or Richardson families, I wish to express my deepest condolences. What a tragic and sudden event!

A seemingly minor accident, and a beautiful life was prematurely ended, to the devastation of loved ones.

There are times when life-changing events happen all too suddenly. Natasha was enjoying a skiing lesson, accompanied by a trained instructor (who, of course, carries no fault in this tragic event). Suddenly, she fell and struck her head on the ground. Completely unknown to Natasha or attending resort staff, the minor fall would prove to be fatal.

There were no visible signs of injury. No immediate pain or other signs indicating the severity of the head trauma.

I truly hope that media will respect the wish for privacy requested by Natasha’s loved ones. This is a difficult and trying time for them, one that came suddenly and without leaving any time to prepare for the loss.

When my grandmother passed away two years ago, following a late diagnose of lung cancer, she was given no more than a couple months more to live. She passed away two weeks later. But at least we knew she was about to be taken from us. At least we had a chance to be mentally prepared following the notice, albeit short. By the time my grandmother passed away, I, too, felt that she was taken away way too quickly. There were so many things I wished I could have talked to her about; so many things I wanted her to experience with regards to my own family.

I cannot imagine what it must be like for Liam Neeson and his two sons, Micheál and David. Such an innocent event — skiing lessons — and a still-young wife and mother was no more. I think tragedy is the most tragic when there is no tragedy involved at all. Life is ironic that way.

Although a car accident is no less tragic and does not provide the loved ones with any more time to say their farewells, it still seems somewhat more understandable. Illness, although tragic if there is suffering involved, gives friends and family some time to adjust and prepare for the impending loss.

But a skiing lesson? All she did was fall …

My kids fall and hit their heads on a quite regular basis. I have several memories from hitting my own head quite hard. And to think that any of those minor incidents could have ended fatally … It gives me shivers to think that I could unexpectedly lose my beloved children or my wonderful wife to such an innocent event.

My wife and I are very strict about our oldest son wearing a helmet while riding his bike. The tragic passing of Natasha serves to emphasise this rule even more.

Life is fragile, and we never know when it will come to an end. Our own life might be nearly spent without any prior indication. A seemingly small incident might cause the loss of someone dear.

Make sure your loved ones know that you hold them dear! Tell them you love them! Spend time with your children, and do not let life’s busy schedule detract from what is truly important — family and friends. Do not wait until it is too late, as you may not have time to prepare for when that day comes.

How did Natasha’s passing affect you? Do stories like this one make you become more careful?


“This profession is very tough and not many people make it, and even if you do, then you can still get slapped in the face constantly.”
Im memoriam — Natasha Richardson (1963–2009)

Advertisements