Wally Buono is an optimist.
Wally Buono is hopeful.
As the Canadian football season begins, the most winningest (is that even good grammar?) coach of the CFL is determined to take his beloved and beleaguered B.C. Lions to the Grey Cup before he retires.
One final year for Wally to be seen biting his lip on the 55 yard line as he wills his new line-up to get their act together towards a long-awaited victory.
His swan song.
Full of hope.
Gotta hand it to our local silver-haired sexagenarian. It would be so easy for him to let it all go but with his faith and tenacity, we can anticipate another season full of optimism.
Which begs the question…where does hope end and despair begin?
After a recent spate of celebrity deaths with the untimely suicides of New York fashion
designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, one can only wonder when their
feelings of hope deserted them.
As voyeurs, we undoubtedly rush in to judge them. We ask how they could take their own lives when they had it all…talent, money and adoration. We are quick to place blame as so many of us envy and want what they have.
We scratch our heads and ask how could they leave young children behind? Their perfect lives? The fame and the fortune?
In his iconic, unsolicited piece to The New Yorker in April, 1999 entitled Don’t Eat Before Reading This, celebrity chef and storyteller, Anthony Bourdain summed up the life of a culinary artist when he said, “Admittedly, it’s a life that grinds you down. Most of us…in the culinary underworld are in some fundamental ways, dysfunctional.”
Dysfunctional…aren’t we all.
Plus this brilliant, talented and edgy raconteur was intense. Coupled with his history of drug addiction, depression and his relentless, frenetic work ethic, it portended a disastrous end.
His demons notwithstanding, I think Bourdain just ran out of steam. Having visited every corner of the globe, he had piled three lifetimes into his 61 years.
He was tired.
He was depressed.
It is rumoured Kate Spade, who was known to suffer from anxiety and depression, was reluctant to seek help lest it tarnish her brand of bright and colourful handbags and shoes.
It doesn’t matter what the story is.
All I know is the world lost two talented people who were no longer able to mask their unbearable pain.
People don’t commit suicide because they want to end their lives. They commit suicide because they want to end their pain, be it physical, emotional or psychological.
Spade and Bourdain (and remember our beloved actor Robin Williams) are not alone.
As Zoomers, we have all experienced the pain of grief and loss and know what it feels like to be sad and blue.
But the majority of us have no idea whatsoever as to what crippling depression feels like. We don’t know what it feels like to fall into the abyss of despair, unable to pull ourselves out of the internal turmoil which leads to this brutal and sudden demise.
We can’t imagine the excruciating pain these celebrities must have experienced and how they chose to end their lives.
According to the World Health Organization, 800,000 people died by suicide last year.
In Canada, 10 people die by suicide each day, approximately 4,000 a year.
They are your family members, your friends, your neighbours.
Depression is a serious mental health issue.
Reach out if you are feeling despair or know someone who is.
Call the Crisis Services Canada line at 1-833-456-4566.
For there is hope.