Living on after a loved one's suicide: After Anthony Bourdain and all the others

Suicide – so final, so impulsive, so theoretically preventable, so hard to understand, so very hard to forgive. I am going to miss Anthony Bourdain, who died of suicide yesterday in Paris, a few days after fashion icon Kate Spade did in New York. I will miss Anthony in a devoted TV viewer sort of way.  To his friends and his loved ones, it will be more than missing. For them he leaves a life-changing legacy of grief and guilt and regret. And, at least at first,  anger.

News channels are sensing a tipping point moment. Every report on Bourdain includes the phone number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  1-800-273-8255. I hope they are right.

Questions abound:

About Anthony, I want to know why now? what happened? did he know how valued he was, how he made the world more familiar and  people we’d never meet seem like they could be friends? did he know that just that made the world a little safer?

About all of us, why are we just waking up to this now? why is the suicide rate climbing? Is this the tipping point when the silence of stigma will be replaced by sharing of information on prevention and help?

The world can seem a hard-edged place right now where people’s invisible demons can flourish. Conflict, outrage, alienation, displacement, nearby and globally, can obscure the view of the compassion and goodness and chance for connection that are still here. But Anthony saw that side, at least on TV.

For the surviving loved ones of one who suicides, the question is how on earth to survive this? I want to introduce you to someone who has been through it. Amy Biancolli is an author and journalist who can tell you about that, and does, in her TedX talk . I find it remarkable.


You can find more from me, including the talk, on my grief website

Please share with anyone who might benefit. Help break the silence that keeps us from knowing more.

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