What-Ifs & If-Onlys


It’s hard to know what to say. Heartbreaks. Condolences. Memories. What-ifs and if-onlys. Should’ve reached out. Could’ve reached out. Couldn’t‘ve? There will be no easy answers afforded anyone, but we’re all not wrong about being in this thing together.

Been in tears multiple times today. Amazing how things like this can do that to a bunch of strangers. Last month it was Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit, this week: Kate Spade and Bourdain. My wife attended a funeral last weekend for a childhood friend who committed suicide.

I’ve read beautiful things today. Others that left me shaking with anger. I wish we could love one another better - the way we do in tragedy’s wake... but before it. I want to love you better. I want to reach out when you can’t, the way others have when I’ve needed it most.

I often feel like I’m speaking into a void. Or an overwhelmed world that doesn’t know what else to do but keep talking. Maybe I’m just the overwhelmed one. And I often shy away from speaking up. Not because there’s nothing to be said, but because everyone’s already saying it all.

But people have challenged me on that. Because there are people in each of our spheres of influence - whether fellow tweeters or family members or friends - who don’t hear what they might need to, the same I might not hear what I might need to if you don’t speak up just the same.

So please do. Say it. It’s worth saying, over and over and over and over and over and over and over again: there are people who love you. Who are here for you. I know it doesn’t feel as easy as just letting them in, or seeking them out, but they exist.

They’ll be your lightening rod and they will take your strikes and they’ll let you - invite you - to let out all the violence inside before it gets the best of you and they won’t shame you, or embarrass you, or ask you what the hell is the matter with your brain, or your heart.

For whatever it is worth and to whomever has the ears to hear: you are loved. Filthy rich or dirt poor, you are loved. Whether you’ve got every accolade in the world or an empty page for a resume, you are loved. Please stay. Don’t go. Don’t leave.

To those left behind by someone who has: it can’t all be chalked up to selfishness, but I get the anger. I get the deep fucking fury that feels like it’s never going to let up, or that hits you out of nowhere & leaves you confused about where it came from & how it came so strong.

I’m sorry for the pain and the loss and the sadness, and I hope that if by some miracle you might be able to forgive, then I pray it may be so.

There will always be those who swoop in to market tragedy. Don’t give them the time of day. There is not a place in hell especially reserved for suicide victims. God is not a monster, and I’ll expect you to remind me of that the next time I start to believe lies like it, too.

So many have responded to today’s news with grace & compassion. Thanks for being light and hope. God bless you for that. You’re such a gift to so many others who need to hear the words you have to say. I believe that to be true.

When my dad committed suicide, one of the most helpful things was to hear about the way that God understood my suffering - as a fellow sufferer. As someone whose eyes are wet with the pain we’re experiencing right alongside us. May that be the picture of our compassionate God.

One who is near to the broken-hearted and describes himself as a suffering servant. I pray that he would be such to the Bourdain family today, and to the Spade family, and to the Hutchison’s, and to my wife’s friends, and to you and to me and to all of us, together, as one.

If this has just been one more thing in too loud a space today, then disregard it. The last thing I want is to contribute to the callous.

Love you guys.



This portrait of Anthony Bourdain is been used with permission from artist Tom Delongchamp, whose body of work can be seen here. When asked, Tom responded: 

"Collective mourning is so beautiful within these divisive times – these portraits are my offering."

Amen. And what a beautiful offering it is. 

togetherLevi The Poet