The death of American actress Skye McCole Bartusiak at age 21 is, simply put, tragic. So young and full of life, McCole had a blossoming acting career. On Saturday, her body was found in her Houston, Texas home by her boyfriend. It is possible that her death was related to the epileptic seizures she had been having in the days leading up to the weekend.
Biography of Skye McCole Bartusiak
While you may not recognize her by name, you’ve likely seen Bartusiak in movies or television. She has appeared in TV shows that include 24, Frasier and House. In the famous film The Patriot, she played the youngest daughter of lead actor Mel Gibson. She was in the TV movie Love Comes Softly, amongst other projects.
The young woman was born in Houston, and that is where she lived for her short 21 years. Her part in The Patriot was her first big acting role, and it came in the year 2000. In 2001, she received a nomination for a Young Artist Award, as part of The Patriot cast, for “Best Ensemble in a Feature Film.”
Bartusiak’s mother spoke with CNN and explained that she tried CPR on her daughter before paramedics came. As she said to CNN, “I’ve done CPR on that kid more than one time and it just didn’t work this time.”
The Shortness of Life: Lessons to Learn
The sudden death of Bartusiak serves as a reminder of the shortness of life. To have a life end barely after reaching 20 is hard to imagine for many people. Personally, I find the loss of this young woman leaves me pondering my own past.
I survived a suicide attempt in my early 30s at a point when I suffered from depression and PTSD, which stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I did not know at the time that I had those conditions as I hadn’t seen a doctor and had become somehow used to feel “off,” to put it mildly. Why do I bring this up? I do so because I had decided to end my life willingly.
Today, I cannot imagine making that decision and am thankful that a higher power than myself saved me. I want to enjoy my days – truly – here on Earth to their fullest. But, Skye McCole Bartusiak did not have that choice. Life was taken so quickly from her, without her approval, taken from her before she had the opportunity to rise to her potential personally or professionally. That saddens me as I selfishly wanted to end my life and here she did not have that want yet has now passed away.
Turning to Gratitude
How to turn such a loss into something we can learn from is not always easy. My thoughts go to her family and friends who are in the mourning process. Personally, I will take away from this tragedy a deep gratitude for the day I have today. After all, we do not know what tomorrow brings and being alive today is truly something to appreciate.
The event is also a reminder to reach for one’s goals. At age 21, this actress had already taken on roles in big films. She was working on her career already, at such a young age. I admire that and will do my best to remain focused on being true to my own path in life, both personally and professionally. Rest in peace, Skye McCole Bartusiak.
©2014 Christy Birmingham