When Someone You Know Commits Suicide
Driving to my parent’s house was tough. The agony of having to tell my parents that a child they once cared for had committed suicide is unthinkable. It was unbearable as the four of us drove down the highway. It was quiet. Our spirits were at an all time low.
The thoughts that go through your head are as painful as the reality is. Did he not know how much he was loved? What could he have been thinking in the moments before? How long was he in despair?
With increasing numbers, most of us will likely experience a close family or friend who will commit suicide. The number of people I’ve known who have taken their own lives is growing. It’s always immeasurably painful.
As I was closing in on writing about our friend Anthony Bourdain, the cook, world traveler, author, father and a highly loved celebrity around the world, I heard my husband give a loud sigh as he walked in my office with some really bad news. I saved my post and heard the unthinkable as I gasped and covered my face in pain.
Every year, almost 50,000 people die of suicide. For every suicide, 25 people attempt it.
Anthony Bourdain was that friend we never met but always hoped to run into someday. I knew there were many people around the world who wept with me on hearing about his death. He connected us all -- even if it was for the very last time.
As an author, the goal of “opening up my veins and putting my thoughts on paper” as we used to say in journalism, is a constant pursuit. I question whether I’m connecting with others.
Bourdain didn’t just tell us; his respect for other cultures would connect us all by helping us understand the world we live in just by asking simple questions. Bourdain created a safe environment for people around the world to answer with sincere honesty because he never judged. And the people he interviewed knew that.
Anthony Bourdain opened doors beyond what any show could do for us and he would do this with paradox. He would gently bust open doors and slam stereotypes by sharing a meal with others to show how we're actually all the same. And by doing so, we anticipated this connection with the world every week, like children waiting by the doorstep to see what else he had to bring home from his travels.
The spirit this country is in, is in need of people who can push the limits to connect all of us – not separate.
Anthony Bourdain wasn’t in alignment with the US. The beautiful way we could all relate to him was not that he would just “say it like it is,” as if this is an honorable way of leading, as some may believe. Anthony Bourdain was a facilitator – an art not so much we all need to imitate but will be required in order for us all to survive.
We can’t be just two-dimensional in trying to be relatable to others but three, four and five dimensional by facilitating each other in groups. How can we facilitate showing how we are ALL connected, not just by being able to connect with each other? Isn’t this what those who are in despair need the most?
One more time, I think to myself what I could have done to save someone’s life. When it happens, it happens like a sudden crash, out of no where, without warning although the signs were all there and none of us were paying attention.
We all have the ability to learn more about it and take action but most importantly, we have the power to reach out and get educated. Our spirit depends on it.
This post is dedicated to Dominik Bonilla who took his life on June 23, 2018.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255