It's sad to learn of the death of a public figure. One who made an impression on you, but you can't pay your condolences to the family. It's weird to grieve this kind of death anyway, like you share him or her with the world and everybody has their sliver of impressions, and you aren't sure why it matters as much as it does, but the world seems a little bleaker than before.
Patrick S. was a movie star I admired for his talent, his range, his looks, obviously, and his grace -- off screen and on. To play tough guys and drag queens takes guts. To look cancer in the face and square off in real life takes courage. To play that particular drama out in public with pundits and paparazzo weighing in is almost unimaginable stress. He handled it with grace under pressure.
Dirty Dancing came out when I was newly divorced and convinced I'd be alone a long, long time. Feeling lost and wounded and loveless, I went alone into a dark movie theater and quickly grew absorbed in the drama of a misunderstood young man with a talent for dance and a life ahead of him that wasn't what he dreamed and longed for, and an impressionable teen whose sheltered life blasted apart during one summer of love and dance, revealing a life larger and more authentic than she realized. When the lights came up that afternoon I felt oddly stronger and more hopeful. It took a sweet and soapy little drama, but it helped jerk me back to the realization that life held endless possibility and you are the master of your destiny by the simple act of how you choose to act or react to events that unfold before you.