Only rarely do I feel deep grief at the loss of someone I didn’t know, personally. But Anthony Bourdain’s death was one of those occasions. Such a painful loss. I didn’t know him, so why do I feel so sad?
First, like a guest we looked forward to seeing, he came into our home regularly: entertaining, informing and being his intellectual, acerbic and (even so) regular self. A gifted writer, a talented show host, he always had something to teach us in his brilliant, funny, human way.
But it was more than that. He was relatable. For me, it was his obvious vulnerability. Can you see it in the image at left? In his eyes? Now that I really look at the image I can see the deep pain.
Or maybe it’s just my imagination and my grief.
All I know is that the world is a darker place without his beautiful spirit. I can’t even imagine what his loved ones are going through.
Did he know how much he was loved? Would it have made a difference?
Did his friends see what I see? Did they suspect there was something deeper going on with him, something he didn’t bring to the surface? And if so, did they feel equipped to talk to him about it?
Surely they may have noticed that he kept himself compulsively busy — a grueling TV production schedule, ju jitsu, books, articles, an idea for a Manhattan restaurant–not to mention family and his relationship. People constantly on the run are often running from something: often, themselves. And their fear that if they stop, something bad will happen.
But that’s not the only symptom of debilitating depression that could lead someone to take his or her own life. And sometimes, depression can be invisible.
This IS the time to talk about depression. And to educate ourselves about the disease.
If you suspect someone you know might be considering suicide, you can intervene. At this link, you’ll find suicide prevention resources you can use, including a toolkit for friends and family. I urge you to familiarize yourself with it and, if you think someone’s on the edge, use it.
Do it for your loved one. And do it in memory of Tony.