Anthony Bourdain was one of my husband’s (and mine) favourites. Just favourites. Not necessarily favourite chef, traveller, host, sarcastic angry fucker, but just a favourite. He was brash, honest, a little crass, and a lot entertaining.
He put the spark in the dark, and made mundane places seem exciting. He always acknowledged the beauty in the people he met, and brought out their best. He was always aware that a destination is nothing without it’s citizens, it’s people, it’s heartbeat.
Anthony Bourdain took his own life this week, and I can tell you exactly where I was. I can tell you exactly how I felt.
I was in Niagara Falls, and I felt like my heart had been thrown into the water. I cried, I raged, and I just couldn’t accept that another one of my favourites was gone.
It all comes rushing back to you when you hear about another one leaving us – favourites or not.
It’s like any healing you have accomplished has been undone.
Once again, the social media platforms are full of “share to show someone’s listening” and other trivial bullshit. I’m not a psychologist or a psychotherapist, I’m not even a good listener. But I do know that not all suicide deaths are due to a chronic, deep, dark suffering. That many of our lost lovelies were not chronic sufferers of a constant lifelong battle with darkness.
Some deaths are, I think, what a person just might see as an answer to “what next?”
And the answer is “I’m done”.
It’s an acute despair. The train has derailed, and there’s is no possible way in their minds to get it back on track.
Our brain is a slew of chemicals and hormones. They are barely balanced in a Petrie dish of crap we call life. One wrong knock, and we fall to the lab floor. Like Humpty Dumpty, we are pooched.
I believe we are born with a brain that is either able to right itself, or not. Absolutely our upbringing comes into play, and where we are in our life at the moment influence the mind, but the chemical make up is what it is. We can alter it, with medication, meditation and exercise, but really, it is made the way it is made. That ball of spaghetti is stuck in our heads forever.
But the problem is, we don’t know how our brains really work, yet, do we? How does my sweet, intelligent husband see only one way to “fix” what now seems like a minor upset? How do Kate Spade and Anthony see only one way out, but the sexually abused, sleeping bag draped, homeless person asking for change in the downtown core hangs on and smiles?
What makes one person able to deal with certain life altering events, while another one decides it’s too much, or it’s not enough, or they are just done?
What happens to the slurry of chemicals? Why do they betray us? It can happen to ANY of us.
We need to figure this out before we lose anyone else, but as I typed, we’ve lost so many more. I’m not an optimistic person, and I hate to say it, I don’t think this will ever end until we figure out everything about how we are made. We can’t even figure how to be nice to each other half of the time.
This world is a rough spot, and the best we can do is be kind, be gentle with each other’s hearts as well as our own, be patient, and be aware that no one is immune to suicide, or to suicide loss. We must however try to stay and help other people stay.
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”
~ Oscar Wilde
If you think someone is having a difficult time in the gutter finding their stars behind the clouds, just stay with them and point the stars out, and always make sure you can see your stars, too.
This world can be a big fucking gutter, but there are always millions of stars.