“As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks — on your body or on your heart — are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt,” –Anthony Bourdain
Two celebrity suicides occurred in less than one week: Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Both were beloved individuals in their worlds, but they couldn’t allow the love to land on them. The world is left stunned with one simple question. Why?
They had what appeared was everything people strive for: fame, finances, success in their strenuous career fields. But what was missing? We may speculate, but never know the true answers.
These deaths have increased the conversation about suicide among Americans, and the importance of receiving mental health care. But what will happen to Kate and Anthony’s loved ones? How will their tragic deaths impact their young children, partners, and close friends?
I did not know either of them personally, but notice these losses (particularly Bourdain) is highly impacting numerous individuals. Hours after his death was announced, people around the world began paying their tributes on social media. Bourdain’s fans saw the globe through his shows on CNN and the Travel Channel. This chef, author, travel writer, and television host widened his fans’ culinary palettes through what he featured on his travel shows. Reading an outpouring of messages online, we realized what a vital impact he made in the culinary world and the international travel scene for Americans. He was witty, authentic, charming, and relatable. We all felt like we knew him after watching an episode. With his tattooed body, cavalier attitude, and fast paced life, he was known as the first rock star chef. Men wanted to be him, and women wanted to be with him. You knew that he would be your ideal adventure buddy. He would push you to try exotic cuisine, hit up hole in the wall restaurants, splurge on Michelin starred meals, drink excessively local liquor at hidden bars, and somehow find street food to sober up.
My husband, who is a chef, got me hooked on Bourdain’s shows. We have different tastes in television shows, he prefers dramas while I enjoy quirky sitcoms. But somehow we could always agree on Bourdain. We watched his shows as a way to escape our daily lives, connection, entertainment, or as inspiration for our future journeys. It was total immersion. We virtually were there on his journeys with him, noted his recommendations, and even opted to search out these hotspots ourselves. His ventures would become our modern gastronomical pilgrimages.
I know we were not alone in our feelings for Bourdain. This is why his death is hitting people hard. He was our travel and culinary superhero. Bourdain had no fear of what he ate, where he went, canoodled with top dog chefs around the world, and had energy to keep going. He was living the life we all dreamed of, and chose to opt out early. What about the rest of us mere mortals?
Life has so much suffering, which at times seems too overwhelming to bear. But then it passes. Things improve. And then another difficulty arises. This is how the fluctuations in life occur. It’s a miracle any of us have the strength to carry on. I had heard on a recent podcast, that after a certain age life becomes a choice. Each day we wake up, it is the choice to live. Regardless of the hardships we may knowingly face for the day, we are choosing life.
With both Kate and Anthony, I can’t help but wonder…What if?
What if a loved one noticed how down they were feeling and took more time to reach out and talk to them that day? What if a stranger caught them on the street and shared loving words of how they impacted their lives? What if anything was different?
We cannot go back, but we can go forward with people in our everyday lives. How can we recognize and notice those in our atmosphere that are struggling? Can we offer additional support, guidance, or comforting words? Even the simple act of looking into the eyes of a stranger and smiling can maybe change one’s day. Take the time to notice, get your face out of your phones, observe those around you, and reach out. Keep people connected. Know we are not alone. It may not change everyone’s life, but it may alter the course of some.
“Until we have met the monsters in ourselves, we keep trying to slay them in the outer world. And we find that we cannot. For all darkness in the world stems from darkness in the heart. And it is there that we must do our work.”
― Marianne Williamson
Suicide impacts people of all ages, we all know someone who has attempted, thought, or completed suicide. If you need to talk to someone, there is help out there. In the USA call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1(800) 273-8255 https://suicidepreventionlifeline.orgor in the UK call the Samaritans at 116 123.
Originally published at itonlytakesasmile.com