Sometimes you don't realize that someone meant anything in your life until you hear they have died. In a way, that's how I am feeling about Patrick Swayze. I didn't know him personally, most of us didn't. But most of us knew his work, and knew it well.
There are a lot of things out there I could mention, but two stand out. North and South is the first, and Dirty Dancing is the other.
North and South was and still is a favorite of my mom. She has a love of the south and the Civil War era. I remember her excitement when she was finally able to get the series on VHS so she could watch it anytime she wanted. My mom and North and South will always be connected in my mind. I may have just been to young to realize sooner, but I really don't remember my mom talking about the south or Civil War era things before she saw North and South. I'm sure she loved them before then, but I think maybe it brought it to the surface for her.
As for Dirty Dancing, I was a teen when I first saw this movie. I was at an age where it was exciting and appealed to me because I could see myself as Baby. And I wanted to be Baby, LOL. It was very much a coming of age film for many of my generation. It represented the freedom I was craving as a teen who was too young to be without rules, but too old to feel like a kid.
I woke up this morning feeling like a part of my youth had died along with Patrick Swayze. And I know I will miss him in a different way than I have other public figures. My heart goes out to his family, especially his wife. May they find comfort in knowing that he really did touch the lives of his fans in some way.