Another day waking up expecting the lunacy of Trump – and yes he delivered in his typical braggadocios fashion, with unchecked facts enveloping him like the stench of rotten eggs. The latest is offering Muhammad Ali a pardon he doesn’t need. Late to the game Donald, the pardon was granted in 1971.
Then the tragic news of another celebrity taking their own life, by apparent suicide filled the airwaves and social media. Anthony Bourdain, chef, reporter, author, father, son, friend and raconteur gone at the age of 61 by his own hand.
Bourdain became part of the statistic that 123 people die every day by suicide.
Stop for a minute let that fact soak in. Yeah, that’s what I thought...shocking. On top of that, the suicide rate is highest among white, middle age males. As I am closing out the fourth decade of my life I know a lot more men who fit into that category of middle age. I am no expert on men, by my perpetual state of singleness (or am I?) but the middle age white guys are struggling, internalizing, and sadly taking drastic, non-reversible actions.
I sat drinking my coffee, listening to his friends and colleagues at CNN, visibly shaken by the news, and on top of that, having the shitty, sad job of reporting the news about his death. I popped on Twitter to see what chefs and culinary authors had to say, specifically Cleveland born, Michael Ruhlman since he played host to Bourdain in 2007, visiting Michael Symon at Lola and proudly showing off all Cleveland had to offer. The visit was a success, and Bourdain loved on theCLE. The questions of why, were accompanied by the shock and sadness at the sudden loss of their friend.
With celebrities, we think we know them because we read their musings, follow them on social media, or welcome them into our homes daily or weekly. But we don’t really know them. Whether famous, or just a regular person, suicide shines a light on the fact that we may not know if those closest to us are going through difficult times. No matter how intimate we are with our loved ones, if they are struggling, they may hide that part of themselves. If we do know about their struggles, and have walked with them in seeking help or treatment and do everything within our power from prayer to interventions, sometimes the darkness wins, as it did with Bourdain and Spade.
We close out the week of losing two high profile celebrities to suicide, who like the other 123 people who took their lives on the same day, had deep, internal struggles. While the less well known took their lives, their families, friends, and all who knew them grieve just as Bourdain and Kate Spade’s loved ones are doing. Yet, they are doing so without the public spotlight. Privacy may be the only blessing. Taking suicide out the shadows, and whispers is what the deaths of Spade and Bourdain within days of each other have done, sadly moving it into the mainstream conversation.
This sad, irreversible act of taking one’s life for reasons, both unknown and known, whether because of anxiety, depression, and a sense of hopelessness shines a light on the fact that we need to reach out, tell their stories, and remove the shame surrounding suicide.
If you, or someone you know or love is dealing with depression, post, retweet, hashtag or stick on the fridge or leave it on their desk - Suicide Prevention 800-273-8255. Or help them, they may be beyond picking up the phone themselves.
So goodbye to Spade and Bourdain, may you find peace along with the 800 plus people who will leave this world in pain with you this week. May you all find peace. You are loved and missed, more than you will ever know. You all had impact on those around you, whether your stage was a small corner of the world, or a larger, international one. You mattered and left a sparkle, I hope you enjoyed the ride.