Dear Reader,

Aye, Anthony.

Bourdain’s death hit me hard. My breath caught. Still in bed, I scrolled through social media hoping it was not true. And then the CNN statement caught my eye.

It was true and so I said the truth out loud for me to hear.

It took a while for my body to catch up to the trauma of the news, it’s been like that ever since my own attempt. And then my breath caught for another reason…the flashbacks.

Next month will be the anniversary of my attempt. I don’t celebrate it as much as I acknowledge it. I acknowledge what lead to it.

Every day I had to make a choice to live. You don’t really understand how big of a choice that is every day.  You get up. Make coffee. Go through your routine. Me? I opened my eye and was disappointed that I lived another day, that I opened my eyes and I had to sweet talk myself out of bed. That I would cry in the shower and pray to God to take my life because I was too chicken shit to take my own life. That it was exhausting to get dressed. To drive to work. To make decisions.

And the next day it all replayed.

It’s not about a gratitude practice.

It’s not about prayer.

It’s not about exercise.

It’s about moments. Each moment unraveling into a year. Each moment riddled with enough pain to fill a crater. Each breath more painful to the last.

Suicide is about ending the pain.

On the outside, Bourdain may have looked like he had no pain. He had what some folks would consider a dream job, sitting at tables, eating his way through the world and telling stories. But the thing with this thing is that you get really good at lying. You get really good at faking the funk.  You get really good at hiding in plain sight.

I will not remember him for ending his pain. I will remember Bourdain as he lived, redemption personified, sitting at tables, cracking jokes, and learning about other people, a respite from his pain.