The Unknown Story: Suicide

Grief resources are part of cremation services in Rockford, IL. There is a certain kind of grief that accompanies suicide, and much of that grief is tied up with guilt, regrets, and questions. The guilt can be that we didn’t know something was wrong with the person who committed suicide. The regrets can be something we said in the days or hours before the person took their own life. And the questions can be endless, but they all come back to “Why?”

Suicide is often an impulsive decision. Not always, but in many cases. Its immediate cause is something in the moment that snaps, that pushes over the edge, that simply breaks. But that is not the cumulative cause, which is far more complicated than anybody can ever really know about anybody else.

It’s important to understand that suicide often has a backstory that nobody knows. It may be a lifelong struggle with depression or substance abuse. It may be trauma that happened somewhere in the person’s life. It may be, in an ironic way, an attempt to fix things or to make people happy.

We never know the backstories, know matter how well we knew the people. It’s important that we not rush to judgment or believe that the final chapter of someone’s life is the only one that matters. It’s not.

The suicide of the comedian and actor Robin Williams in 2014 came as a shock to everyone (a very ironic part of this was that he played the husband of a wife who committed suicide in the movie, What Dreams May Come, and he knew what he would be doing to his family). Williams, who struggled his entire adult life with substance abuse and severe depression, was one of the funniest comedians in the last 100 years and was also a gifted dramatic actor. He was known for his boundless energy and his great body of work.

Williams kept the severe depression at bay by doing comedy (a fairly common thing for comedians). However, in 2014, Williams began having memory problems, sleep issues, and even deeper forays into depression, which frightened him. After many doctors and tests, Williams was diagnosed with Lewy Body dementia. That was likely the catalyst that spurred Williams to take his own life, although we’ll never know for sure.

When chef, author, and television personality Anthony Bourdain took his life in 2018, the world was in shock. The native New Yorker had spent the last ten years taking American households into Parts Unknown, immersing himself into the cultures and food of other countries. Included were histories of those countries and how the culture and food developed from them.

His breadth of knowledge and his sheer enjoyment of taking these immersive trips left its mark on people who didn’t even watch much television. So, his death by suicide left a lot of people reeling.

However, Bourdain suffered from severe depression all his life and had a history of past substance abuse. There were hints of a dark side he was dealing with, if you were looking, in his words, his ideas, and his behavior, but they could also be chalked up to Bourdain being a typical New Yorker.

Why Bourdain chose to take his life is a mystery that won’t be solved, just like all suicides are mysteries that can’t be solved. Compassion and empathy are all we can truly offer, as well as support to the friends and family who are left behind.

If you’d like to learn more about cremation services in Rockford, IL, our compassionate and experienced team at Collins & Stone Funeral Home is here to help. You can visit us at our funeral home at 128 S 5th Street, Rockford, IL 61104, or you can call us today at (815) 965-1515.

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