What you know now is that you didn’t know.

You (and I) grieve the tragic deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain you knew through their talents and public faces.

You didn’t know their private realities or see their invisible pain.

You’re reminded of the anguish for others you’ve known and lost tragically by suicide—people you’ve worked with, saw as clients, or collaborated with as professionals/teachers/mentors. People you grew up with. Friends. People you knew as husband, wife, partner, mom, dad, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, and/or cousin.

You anguish over what you didn’t know and how to respond. Your body aches. You’re mentally tired and emotionally distressed.

You’re experiencing one or more of the stages of grief: disbelief/denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Hopefully you can find comfort and direction (as I do) in the following two passages from a prayer for the departed to deal with the anguish of loss:


by Merritt Malloy

And when you need me, put your arms around anyone

And give them what you need to give me.

Love doesn’t die, people do.

So, when all that’s left of me is love

Give me away.

There is an emptiness you can feel when coming to terms with the death of someone you admired and loved.

The loss of not having access to that person anymore is profound, even when your relationship was through their writings, cable appearances/shows or red and purple pen gifted to you along with the blank journal titled: “Leave Something To The Imagination.”

These deaths remind you of other relationship losses through a job change, relocation, retirement, or illness. They remind you of relationship connections you miss today—even after many years.

Keeping the person’s contribution to your life alive helps.

How do you do that?

And when you need me, put your arms around anyone

And give them what you need to give me.

Sharing the love, joy and appreciation you received from the person’s positive impact in your life is the greatest tribute to their life– which lives on through you as it is passed on to others.

That I know.

If You Know Someone in Crisis

Call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to everyone. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889. All calls are confidential. Contact social media outlets directly if you are concerned about a friend’s social media updates or dial 911 in an emergency.  Learn more on the NSPL’s website.

Mary Franz LCSW, PCC  is a couple’s therapist, critical incident responder, and personal strategy coach. Need to talk about a personal or business relationship challenge? Visit her website and ask for a complimentary strategy session.