Losing a Hero

It’s been a while since you have heard from me, I know. Things in my life, last we left off, we’re going very well for me. New job, going back to school, getting out of debt; and while none of that has changed, my mental health has taken a plummet since then. You probably have all heard the news by now, but in case you haven’t, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain has passed away from a suicide. While this in itself is a tragic loss, for me it was something even greater. For a bit of back story imagine an 18 year old me, going to college for the first time, broke, meeting new people, trying new things, struggling with my mental health, etc. It was through my new friends that I met that year that I discovered the comfort of watching food based shows late at night when you were hungry but had no money and the cafeteria was closed. Particularly Anthony Bourdain’s shows Parts Unknown and No Reservations. For the first time in my life, I saw what my dream was. To me, he had the perfect job, one that I could dream of. Travel the world, eat amazing food with amazing people, and drink like there’s no tomorrow. Still, that is my dream, to travel the world just for food. I had developed a very close bond to the man and his shows, while one sided as I never met him. His voice alone would be able to pull me out of the deepest depression episodes that I experienced in college.

To me he was my hero

Losing a hero is never easy, it’s like losing someone close to you, despite the person not even knowing that you exist (most times). For those of you that may not have experienced what it’s like to have a hero, let me draw a very broad outline for you. A hero is someone that you look up to, and hold above all others. They may not be the best at what they do, but to you they are the best. They inspire you to chase your dreams, and give you the courage to do so. They give you things to fall back on, such as sayings or phrases, when you think you’ve hit rock bottom. They are a light in the darkness that can sometimes surround you.

To me, Anthony Bourdain was one of those lights, a very bright one as a matter of fact. I mourned his death as I would a close family member. In fact, I haven’t felt that level of pain since I lost my grandmother back in 2009. I was already in a tailspin of sorts with my own mind, and then seeing the news Friday morning, I was barely able to hold myself together all day, to finally come undone that night. I wept, sincerely and honestly wept for hours, like there was suddenly a hole in my heart.

While I have recovered somewhat, I still am wholeheartedly saddened by his passing. On the bright side, the spotlight is once again on mental health issues and suicide prevention. I am just upset that it took the deaths of 2 celebrities, one I held dearly, for this spotlight to arrive. However, we should not let these deaths be in vain. We need to keep the spotlight on the right issues for as long as we can manage, because there are lives to be saved by these tragedies.

I thank you all for taking your time to read this, and I hope that things get better, for myself and all of us.