A Death in the Family.

The universe is not subtle with its messages. Sometimes it stops you dead in your tracks. Like you’ve hit some invisible wall and you are flattened. Winded. Shocked. Friday was a day like that. A hard day after a hard week.

In the short span of five days, we lost Kate Spade and then Anthony Bourdain. I’ve never met either one of them but knew enough about both for this to catch me off guard.

I’ve seen Kate Spade stores in Ontario and the States as well. I know many people, Allison included, who loved the brand because they felt connected to Kate. For Anthony Bourdain, I’ve watched Parts Unknown and like so many in the province, swelled with pride as he grabbed a feed at Raymond’s discovering what we’ve all known so long as a great culinary secret. Both of these celebrities were not your average celebrities. They felt like people we knew. Like close friends. Like family.

These are two individuals seemed to have the world in the palm of their hands, endless wealth, fame and fortunes at their fingertips. Yet unbeknownst to us all, pain and tragedy lurked in their shadows. It’s a striking example of how we do not know the burdens others carry. The load may be too heavy and the light may be too hard to see.

Mental Health and addictions touch us all. There are no degrees of separation. We all have our own shadows of doubt. We’ve all suffered some level of depression and anxiety. But for some, those shadows and darkness are inescapable no matter how hard they try.

If there’s any light to be found here, any kind of upside, it is this: we need to use this opportunity to encourage discussion. We need to talk about suicide, openly and honestly.

I truly believe that we are all in this adventure together. We are all connected in some way. In our families, friends, and communities, we are part of something that is larger than we may know. I like to think we share a goal or vision to leave this place better than we found it. To do that, we must take better care of each other.

We don’t live in the shadows by ourselves. Our shadows overlap and connect each and every day. It reminds me of that well-quoted line from It’s a Wonderful Life, that each life touches so many other lives. We need to recognize that and encourage each other to ask for help.

Help. It is a simple word. Likely one of the first words we learned yet it can be so difficult to speak. There is no shame in asking for help. Sometimes it’s the hardest thing to do. But break it down to an easier form. Don’t think of it as mental health. Think of it as just health. Something’s wrong and you want to know how to treat it to feel better. I know that sounds almost too simple but the point is to not keep it bottled up. Talk. Please talk.

Help can take many forms. Maybe it’s the shoulder of a friend, a hand of a relative, or the tender support of a professional. There are always options.

I hope Kate and Anthony have now found some of the peace that eluded them in life. Life can be tough and challenging, but I can’t stress enough that you are not alone. Please, if you are in a shadow, see the hands reaching to help you. Don’t be afraid. Together, we can make it through.

Much love,


The Canadian suicide prevention hotline number is 1 833 456 4566.

10 Responses to “A Death in the Family.”

June 11 at 4:19 pm, Jo said:

Words to live by…..Thanks Andrew


June 11 at 5:05 pm, Louise Munro said:

Thank you Andrew for your insightful and inspiring message. In a day and age if the ME TOO movement. Mental Health Awareness And Health needs an initiative of its own.
I’ve personally found I hide my suffering behind laughter and meaningless trivial conversations to avoid what’s really going on inside.
I’ve had a host of issues stack one ontop of the other that compound the problem a time line ranging from adoption into a living family while caring a feeling of abandonment from the one person you feel should live you the most my biological parents, as a child it was more the mother figure I wondered about. In bullet form, rape at 14, miserable high school because of false rumours, married my high school sweet heart, he had anger & control issues, endured 17 years of physical, emotional and mental abuse. Had the strength to leave with my child never looked back. Yes women you can escape abuse! Laid off two long term careers 17 and 18 yrs each found breast cancer 2 1/2 yr treatment left me with large debt when only receiving 50% pay then returning to work no longer working and receiving commissions so again 50% salary loss and now bigger and deeper in debt now out of work 2 1/2 years no salary coming in the wolves at the door and the phone never stops ringing the anxiety attacks each time it rings I avoid answeingvas it’s the same conversation stating unless I’m working there’s no money to pay you. Being interviewed by 20 yr olds with no experience is painful.
I encourage everyone to reach out to someone that will just sit there and listen. The weight that’s lifted off your heart to share your fears and what sets your anxieties your fears your worries. It’s amazing once you take that first step. You really do have many choices if your isolate from friends start the conversation with your family Doctor, your Minister your Preist your Pastor. Seek a counseling service for Mental heath.
Journal for a few days and record your feelings and your triggers read them over a few times it’s amaxung what you learn about yourself. Life is wonderful when you have the right tools to help you along the way. The hardest part is opening the discussion. Once it’s opening you’ll truly wonder why you didn’t help yourself sooner
LETS TALK ABOUT IT, you’re stronger than you think.
Like I tell my friends and family. There’s nothing in this world that so big that we can’t overcome or resolve. Tell the people in your life how you value them. If you truly feel alone contact your community groups, whether it’s an art class a dance class I especially enjoyed college writing classes Being around other people boosts your spirit tremendously.
Volunteer at local hospitals animal shelters seniors home pick something you care about and get yourself out there.
You are not alone there’s thousand of people struggling there’s an equal amount of people that want to help and guide you to a solution.
Pls take the first step by reaching out.


June 15 at 9:05 pm, andrew said:

Thanks for sharing this, Louise. More people need your kind of candor and resolve.
It’s good to hear a story about someone doing their very best to overcome adversity and still have enough positive energy to send good karma out into the world.
Take good care,


June 11 at 8:33 pm, Paul said:

Well said. Thank you.


June 11 at 9:11 pm, Kevin Fram said:

Spot on, Andrew. There is still too much stigma attached to mental health problems. And yet nearly everyone will struggle with it at some point in their lives. When that time comes, folks should talk about it and ask for help, just as you recommend. Having a health professional talk about it as you have done here is precisely what every doctor in the country should be doing.


June 12 at 9:02 am, Paul M. Snow said:

Thoughtfully said Andrew. To see these talented people decide to check out permanently only drives home how irrational the mind becomes without intervention. As I lie here and read your blog I am promising myself to make more time to look my friends in they eye when I too casually say “How are you doing?” We can all do something to create just a little more light. Thanks Andrew for reminding me of that.


June 12 at 2:06 pm, Amy said:

Fabulous thinking Andrew. Thanks for taking the time to write it dow!


June 13 at 12:12 am, Jim said:

Very wise and helpful. Be kind to everyone;we may not know their suffering.


June 13 at 12:51 am, Lisa Dempster said:

So very well written Andrew. Another sobering reminder that we can have all the things we want in life but if our people aren’t ‘well beings’ the rest doesn’t matter. Let’s me the conversation going.


June 13 at 1:20 am, Bernie said:

I have several friends who have been to the “bottom” and have seen first hand how hard the struggle out is. Without personal and professional support it’s not going to happen. Seeking help seems so easy but people resist it and don’t want to talk about what’s obvious to everyone in their life.
Ask your friends and your colleagues — “how are you really” and listen to the answer. Really listen. I did an entire blog post called just that — really listen. And then give them a hug even if they aren’t on the hugging team.


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