When I heard the news of Kate Spade, and later Anthony Bourdain I wasn’t saddened. But I wasn’t shocked. Suicide has never been an easy thing to navigate. It’s always horrible. When it does hit it’s like a tsunami; knocking us into a sea of sadness. Left to drift aimlessly until we find our bearings again. Standing becomes tricky and we are never quite the same again.
I realize that many of us keep hidden so many demons. They only rise to the surface when someone else decides to take the plunge into the unknown. We all go thru some litany of grief. Yet, for many who never knew them, their life doesn’t change. Why should it? They didn’t know the deceased. Their lives become completely untouched for the most part. It becomes another headline in a long string of them.
I didn’t know Kate or Anthony, yet I can say that for each suicide I hear about my life does change. I make it change so that the life that was lived doesn’t feel like it was in vain. I take several moments to myself honoring the person that they were. Knowing that the world will always be less now because they are gone.
In Kate’s case I bought a cup she designed from Amazon, a reminder to me every time I use it that life is short; drink up. It has lemon’s on it. When life gives you lemons be sure to make lemonade. If you can’t it’s okay to ask for help. Suffering from depression and anxiety myself, it’s a stark reminder that I am not alone in my struggles.
In Anthony’s case it was a little different.
I remember flipping thru the channels and running into him on television from time to time. I wasn’t in a space to appreciate what he was putting out into the world. I’m not a foodie, choosing the route of eating to live instead of living to eat. Now older and wiser, I can now see the value he brought to everything he did. How every person who had the chance to meet him and get to know him became blessed. With Anthony, in death, he taught me how to enjoy new food and new experiences.
I’m all for adding good things into my life. It took me awhile to understand that in order to change my life I didn’t have to get rid of anything. Opting to add one good thing in at a time, changing my life for the better. Change doesn’t have to be dramatic or painful. Sometimes it can be small, seemingly insignificant at the time, but in the end making a bigger impact than we thought was possible.
After Anthony passed I decided that we were in a food rut.
Don’t get me wrong I’m all for anchors in my life with little ones and how they can be helpful. But there was something to be said for always staying in the safe end of the pool. Like Anthony, maybe it wasn’t something that should be taken away, things always staying the same. Yet, something that needed to be added.
So I decided on New Food Friday’s. An odd mix of anchors and setting sail for the horizon, destination unknown. Each Friday, we as a family, find food that we’ve never tried before. Last week it was kiwi (for the kids) and plantain (for my husband and I) and this week for the kids it was sushi and potstickers. We are starting out small with normal food you can find close to us. Later graduating out into the world to find the real interesting food stuffs.
Either way, it’s in the endings that we find new beginnings. For you can’t have one without the other.
I like to think that Kate and Anthony are looking down on me in someway with little smirks on their faces. Happy with how I chose to honor their lives, even though they weren’t always happy. Understanding the struggles and realizing that I always have a choice in how I go forward. Infusing what I knew about them into how I integrate their lives into my own. Hoping that in a way they can be honored and remembered.
In the end knowing that life is hard, but it is beautiful.
That each day is a new beginning, remembering to set sail for great things. Understanding there will be storms, but it’s how we weather them that shows our strengths and our weaknesses. Learning from those who have gone before us. Living more boldly in our own lives. Thanking people for coming and for being who they really were. No strings attached and no reservations; adding on to their legacy after they have passed.
Infusing good things into our lives as we go along, not only because of death, but because we truly know what it means to live.
About the Author: Keva Bartnick
Keva Bartnick is an artist, writer, and lightworker. Happily married mother of three; she’s been inspiring people to be their most courageous selves since 2015.