Thursday, January 8, 2009

leaving on a jett plane

I have been obsessed with celebrity babies since childhood. In the pre-computer days of my youth, I relied on People Magazine to quench my thirst for seeing famous tots, always excited (though often dismayed by) their names, and always hoping for glimpses of their little faces in People's Star Tracks pages. Seven or eight years ago, there was a particularly sweet cover with John Travolta, Kelly Preston, and a stunningly beautiful Jett, aged seven or so. This boy was so mesmorising, with his black hair, giant, piercing blue eyes, and eyelashes so thick and dark, he must have been the envy of every model on earth. I was absolutely riveted by his beauty, and saved that issue. I had been intrigued since his birth because, well, celebrity babies had yet to become a national fixation, and I thought his name was especially rad, clever, and apropos since his dad is a pilot. But the first picture ever released was Jett at seven, and he took my breath away. Shortly thereafter a sister arrived, and while John and Kelly rose to super stardom, photos of the kids were disappointingly scarce, if not totally non-existent. Cut to the marvelous invention, Celebrity Baby Blog, wherein baby druggies such as myself can get a fix on all the latest names (be they precious or criminal), faces, and and often ridiculous wardrobes and privileges of these alluring tots. Last year there was a picture of Jett Travolta with his family, all but grown up, and I remember thinking that something wasn't quite right about his demeanor. His family was on the beach, and something about his posture, body language, and expression seemed to convey that he didn't quite understand where he was. The brief article referenced medical issues, and a speech delay, which was the first thing I'd heard about him since his beaming face captured my heart eight years prior. I felt so sad for him, for his family, as I would anyone grappling with an impaired child, and I was sad that this radiant boy was now a (still beautiful) teenager, coping with a condition that was explained in very vague terms. Their daughter Ella is also quite pretty, but I've always been drawn to Jett, and wished there were more pictures. Several months later CBB caught another photo series, and again, Jett seemed mostly unaware of his surroundings, and it was evident by the swelling in his face that he was unhealthy. But those eyes, they could cut through your heart like butter, and the family looked normal and at ease, despite whatever this mystery illness was. So I've seen maybe three pictures of this stunning child in his life.

Imagine my surprise six (?) days ago when the CBB headline was that that beautiful boy had died, in the arms of his father, who attempted CPR for so long the EMAs had to forceably remove him from his son and take him to the hospital, where he was declared dead. 16 years old, the love of his father's life. Dead. I know parents lose children everyday, and that no child's life is more or less valuable than any other's, but I was deeply struck by Jett's death, and the subsequent, previously unheard details of his seizure disorder, and his exceptionally close bond with his father. My heart breaks for Jett's family, and I hope he lived a happy life in spite of his challenges. It seems obvious that he was loved tremendously. Since his passing, his family has released a handful of pictures, by which I am still intrigued, and now, greatly saddened. This photo sort of haunts me in a way, in spite of its profound sweetness. Beyond the glitz and glamour of fame and wealth, a father loved his son, and a son loved his father. Hug those babies extra tight friends, our time with them is so precious.

May you rest in peace you dear dear boy, and may your family find a way to heal. I didn't know you, but as a mom, I mourn your loss, and will never forget your face.


B Kinch said...

It's just so sad. I can't even begin to comprehend. And thank god for that.

Hennifer said...

That is a really touching entry Chey. Thank you for sharing! I've surrounded myself in the blogsphere with woman who have suffered the lose of their babies and aside from the compassion I hope I am learning for delicate situations I definitely do hug my children tightly because of it.

such a sad story.

gail said...

just tragic....there are no words to capture the magnitude, but i loved your touching, heartfelt post. i can't imagine what his parents must be going through. time is precious, i hope we don't forget that. ~g

THE PHONES said...

what an incredible post. hearing that anyone has lost their little one is so terribly sad and horrifying. i cannot help but shake the image that i have in my head of poor John doing CPR on his son. absolutely devastating.

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Anonymous said...

I don't share the same paranoia as you regarding the health of my daughter, but I do feel for people who are dealing with chronic illnesses with their kids.

it's heartbreaking. and what's worse is the media's attempt to blame their kooky religion for his death.

this was a beautiful post. I second Brandy's comments.