Thoughts on Suicide

Anthony Bourdain. In the past two days, I have read everything from expressions of extreme sorrow to there’s a special place in hell or purgatory for people who commit suicide. (I wonder if there’s a place there for people who believe that thinking something allows you to say it, regardless of how hurtful it is.) The most meaningful response to me came from my ever-wise cousin:

I’m not sure despair is always the correct descriptor for the catalyst behind suicide. Sometimes the emotions one experiences cannot be contained – are just too much – and so they exit [stage] left with great relief. That isn’t really despair. It is simply that one has had enough.

Here are some CDC Facts from 2015. May shed light on some things.

My takeaway is that while Bourdain may have “had enough,” the manner in which he lived his life will remain beautiful. Not perfect in even the remotest sense, but beautiful.

“Anthony Bourdain knew how to talk about what he didn’t know. He was excited about places he’d never been and food he’d never tried. He carried around the world with him a sense of glee and awe — that new information, new ways of tasting, of seeing and understanding, were out there always, are out there still.” -Jessica M. Goldstein (Think Progress)

We are surrounded by those who have soared and crashed, won and lost, overcame and were overcome, and we can learn from them all. To honor someone’s memory is to embody their best attributes. A resident sense of “glee and awe” at the ever-discovering thing we call life is precisely what I want to possess, what I want to pass on to my children. When my life transitions to memory (hopefully many years from now), I would like nothing better than to be known as someone who spurred others on to be more fully alive through love and awe and wonder and joy.


(image ©Netflix)


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