Normally, I’m not moved by celebrity deaths. It’s not that I don’t care about them as human beings, but I’m so far removed from them that it’s not something I feel deeply about, despite the fact that I can empathize with others over the loss of someone important.
Bourdain is the one that really opened my eyes to the world, how little I’ve seen, and how much I’d missed in places he’d already been. The down-to-earth views he had and the way he wrote/narrated his programs always hit an emotional nerve.
His death was the first thing I read about this morning, pretty much right after waking up, and I’ve just been feeling a bit dejected today. It really hit home since I’m no stranger to depression to myself but am at a point where I can manage those thoughts and feelings. When I was younger, there were a few points in my life where I contemplated ending myself but just kept forcing myself through the next day, the day after, and the day after that. Carrying a dark burden by myself was immensely saddening and lonely; I’d talk to doctors, they’d offer therapy and medication; I’d talk to family who didn’t understand this at all; I didn’t want to bring it up to friends for fear of alienation and/or cliche, pointless anecdotes about “feeling blue” and just needing to “cheer up” and “get some exercise”. I honestly don’t know what has changed between now and about 14 years ago when I first truly felt my depression dragging me down; I can tell you that it has never truly gone away, and some days the burden is greater than others, but it has lessened over time.
I think that Bourdain’s suicide has left me thinking about my own issues which are potentially unresolved. Selfishly, I am terribly sad about the fact that we lost a uniquely talented writer whose show opens up the world to those who may not ever have a chance to experience all that he has, and the fact that he probably had so much more to share. He will be missed; even though I never knew him personally, getting to know his personality through his shows which I’ve watched over and over again has made him feel like a friend. No Reservations/Parts Unknown are two of my favourite shows, and I still refer to these whenever I look to travel to new places.
We should all feel for Eric Ripert, too; I believe he was the one who found Bourdain dead and those two had excellent chemistry together. I can’t even imagine finding one of my own friends passed away, let alone from their own actions. The episodes they shared together (I recall the French Alps, Marseille, and Sichuan China) were eye-opening and entertaining.
I think everybody carries a dark burden, and some are more capable of shouldering the immense weight than others. Those of us that are stronger need to speak up about depression and other psychological issues to diffuse the stigma around it so that we can all better support those who struggle with their daily burden.
Despite the heavy shit here, have a nice weekend, everyone. Hug your spouse, children, parents, pets, friends - I think we all need a little bit more love these days.