When Anthony Bourdain died on June 8, 2018, the world lost a cultural icon. The chef, writer, storyteller and host of Parts Unknown was a powerful presence who brought people together through food. But behind the lens, Bourdain was a loving husband, father and friend, and Bourdain’s wife (they were separated at the time of his death) wants everyone to remember that man. Octavia Busia just shared a throwback video of Bourdain with his daughter, Ariane, in honor of #BourdainDay — what would have been the celebrity chef’s 63rd birthday — and the post is giving us all the feels.
In the clip, posted on Instagram, Ariane can be seen sitting on Bourdain’s shoulders. The travel host then dives underwater to swim while his daughter, still propped on his back, giggles and laughs.
Busia captioned the post simply, with three laugh-crying emojis and the hashtag “#BourdainDay;” but the video spoke for itself. It also struck a nerve with many, including me.
I remember feeling Bourdain’s loss sharply — because his story could have been my story. I am a wife, a mother, and a suicide survivor. On two occasions, I tried to take my own life. But looking at me, you would never know it. I have loving friends, a doting family, a great job and a “good life.” And while I do not presume to understand what Bourdain was going through, I will say this: addiction and mental illness are insidious diseases. They strike adults and kids from every cultural, economic and racial background, and they do so suddenly.
One in four adults lives or will live with a mental health condition during their lifetime. As such, we need to debunk the myths surrounding mental illness by talking about it — without judgement, shame or stigma.
That said, while mental healthcare and suicide prevention should be a part of an ongoing conversation we have today and every day, it’s also imperative that we remember Bourdain for the life he lived, not just the way he died. Glossing over Bourdain and his life in order to merely talk about his death would be a disservice: to him, to me and to everyone who has ever struggled with addiction, alcoholism, suicide and/or mental illness. Because we are more than that — and we deserve more. Which is why chefs Eric Ripert and José Andrés created #BourdainDay in the first place; they wanted to honor their colleague and friend, and encourage his fans to do the same.
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A true Legend… Anthony, my Dear friend… Happy Birthday! The world wishes you Peace & Love on your journey 💙🙏🏼✌🏼🕊 🌎#BourdainDay #repost @chefjoseandres ・・・ Let’s post videos celebrating #bourdainday on his birthday…@ericripert and I are honoring him in Singapore where will you celebrate him? People of the World join us!
So, today, we celebrate you, Tony. You may be gone, but you are not forgotten.
For more information on the warning signs and prevention of suicide, click here. If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you live outside the U.S., click here for a list of international hotlines and/or text Crisis Text Line at 741-741.