This week, fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef and television host Anthony Bourdain committed suicide. It was shocking that two highly successful people, who seemingly had everything, could have taken their own lives. When Robin Williams killed himself four years ago, the number of suicides spiked during the months following his death. We fear the same may happen now. The suicide of a family member or a celebrity seems to give people who feel depressed or hopeless the “permission” to take this ultimate step. If you aren’t suicidal or despairing it’s hard to imagine how desperately hopeless other people may feel, even when by all appearances they are living successful, fulfilled lives.
Kate Spade left behind a 13-year-old daughter. Likewise, Anthony Bourdain left behind an 11-year-old daughter. Both were respected and well-regarded and had no apparent financial worries. So it’s difficult to understand what demons haunted them, what tragic views of themselves led them to take their own lives. It seems like an act of supreme selfishness, although people who’ve survived suicidal thoughts and attempts assure us that it’s not about being selfish. To me, suicide is like the giant wall in the movie King Kong that separates the natives from the beasts. We know there are monsters on the other side, but some people can’t resist crossing the threshold, going to that place from which they will never return.
I don’t understand it; I never will. Life is too precious a gift. I want to feel sad for Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain and others who have taken their own lives, but mostly I am baffled by their decision to end it all. Surely, there is always tomorrow, always a new day, a new chance, a new relationship, a new opportunity, even if it’s just to watch the sun rise or clouds trail across the sky, or hear birds singing or water flowing over rocks, or watch your children doing anything at all. Life will end too soon anyway.
Photo credit: bilbo @ MoveStillsDB