I can't get my mind off Anthony Bourdain's suicide. I'm smart enough to know that we never really know what is going on with other people, and I don't think I'm naive enough to think that fame and fortune solve life's problems, and, quite obviously, he is nobody I knew personally, and yet, here I sit, reading article after article after article online, searching for something that will make sense of it.

I read Kitchen Confidential when I was in bed recovering from a C-section delivering my sweet baby Owen. My friend Eileen had been there in the hospital with me, and stayed a few days taking care of me, and helping Ernie with Leo. Lord, I was grateful. And she knew me well, so when she tucked me into my bed upstairs she gave me a copy of Kitchen Confidential. I read it in that semi-dreamy state that goes on post-birth with little sleep despite being in bed. I have a clear memory of laying in my bed devouring it. Of course I was smitten. He was a tall, rock and roll, a smart, smart, smart ass. What was not to like? And of course, as I followed him in the years to come, I remained smitten, with his quick wit, his use of language, and respect for other cultures and people.

Why has this hit me so hard? Maybe because it makes it clear how little we know one another. What do I NOT know about all those I love? Maybe it's because it somehow brings home that, no matter what, we are all alone with our insecurities and sorrows.

There is no way to protect oneself from oneself.  

Tonight I'm going to cook a good dinner, a chipotle pork shoulder, and we'll share it with Owen and whatever band members trickle in, and I will think about how lucky I am that I have never been in as dark a place as he obviously was.




2 thoughts on “Oneself

  1. Suicide. There are those who talk endlessly about their emotional pain and others who hide it from others and maybe even themselves until it becomes too heavy a burden to carry. I have two loved ones with a disorder called “emotional dysregulation.” I wish I could write about them, but I can’t and won’t, because I respect their privacy. One attempted suicide 30 yeasrs ago and still talks about it, but says, “I won’t do it.” The other has been hospitalized twice and, when asked “are you thinking of killing yourself?” often replies, “Not at this time.”
    My husband probably saved a co-workers’s life. He said he had a gun and whiskey and he was going to kill himself come September. He had a wife, kids, and a good job he seemed to enjoy. He also had bipolar illness. My husband and an admin. assistant went into another room and managed to send a fax to the man’s psychiatrist. The psychiatrist phoned the co-worker while he was away from his desk. Someone took the message and put a note on the guy’s desk. “Call Dr. So-and So.” (I guess this was pre-HIPPA.) Husband was afraid this might spook the guy or that he might refuse to return the call, but fortunately, he did. Months later, he thanked my husband.