Anthony Bourdain: In Memoriam

by Onyemaechi Ogbunwezeh
Anthony Bourdain

Just read that Anthony Bourdain has joined his ancestors. 

He killed himself, as the news made clear. 

Anthony Bourdain was a CNN Chef, who travelled the world showcasing the culture and food habits of various peoples and tongues and nations. He aimed at showing what unites us much more than what divides us. 

He will be missed. 

This write up, is me pulling down the flags of my esteem. It is me letting it fly at half mast, in memory of a human being; that has just made his way to eternity. 

My mind and heart go out to the families of all those, who are compelled to surrender their lives to those oppressive demons of depression, in its various manic manifestations. 

I bow my head to the memory of your lives. 

My journey into the history of human civilization, showed me that many of us cannot imagine how much our world, and our civilization owe to neurotics, and people battling unseen demons in their lives. 

Depression happens to be the depths. These depths can never be approximated by anyone, who has never known the contours of these dark, deep grottos of pain, paralysis and hopelessness. 

Manic Depression a friend told me, is like the Inferno, which at the portals of its dark sanctuaries, hang the inscription: “abandon hope, all ye that enter here”! It is eerily Dantean some may hazard. But much worse I guess, as to make many a man decide to kill himself, as the only way to escape the excruciating and strangulating pain, which words are notoriously inadequate to articulate. 

That is the depths of death, which so much terrified the author of the 129th Psalm, that he cried in loud sobs and violent screams: 

“De profundis Clamavi ad te, Domine!


“Out of the Depths, I cry to thee Oh Lord!”

Those depths of hopelessness were so fearful for him, that he pleaded that the Lord should give ear to the voice of his pleadings. 

Those depths are so fearful for anyone that has ever found him or herself, in the thralldom of those depths of profound darkness. 

In spite of those drowning feelings prefiguring expiration, and overshadowing their lives; whenever these great souls battling those demons of our limitations and finitude, break to the surface for air, they have, not minding their pain, essayed and voyaged, to make the lives of their fellow pilgrims in this valley of tears called life, better. 

Many of them have made a burnt offering of themselves, to leave smiles on our faces. Many of them have given us of their all, to solve our problems. Many of them have deployed their art to make our lives more pleasurable and meaningful, even in the face of great personal sacrifices. 

Some of the greatest and most generous people I know, that have given me the gift of their all, were people battling depression and manic depression. 

Some of the most generous lovers I know are people battling these demons. 

As I mourn Anthony Bourdain, whom I knew from his wondrous efforts to create bridges of understanding, across intercultural spaces; I celebrate all my acquaintances and friends suffering from depression. I may never fully approximate or understand your pain. But this is a token of my love with all its imperfections. 

May the dead Rest In Peace. And may the living be granted love, joy and light.


Image: Anna Hanks via Flickr remixed

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