I am feeling so saddened this morning.
L'Wren Scott, the long-time companion/girlfriend of Mick Jagger killed herself yesterday.
She was not only Mick's girlfriend, she was a very well-known and successful designer and a huge name in fashion. Everyone from Nicole Kidman to Michele Obama wears her clothes. She just did a major deal with Banana Republic. I mean- it seemed like she had such a swell life. She was 6 feet, 4 inches and towered over Sir Mick and I always sort of respected him for having a girlfriend who was so much taller than he. She was beautiful, she had the longest legs in the world. She was adopted as a baby by a Mormon couple in Utah and she grew up to be...L'Wren Scott.
And then she killed herself.
I feel great sympathy for those who loved her. But what devastates me is the fact that anyone, anyone in this world, can suffer so badly from depression that no matter what the visible circumstances of their life, their accomplishments, their beauty, their relationships are- they can reach such a low place in their souls that they choose to end their lives rather than suffer anymore.
I have skated on that river. I have felt the ice beneath my feet and seen the dark, leafless trees against a gray leaden sky leading seemingly into an infinite outline of nothing more, ever, than that.
And I have been there, as well, as the survivor of a dear friend's suicide. Been told the news, been unable to process it (He was supposed to come and have dinner with us last night! He never showed up!) and had no idea how to leap that barrier between was-there and isn't-there and yet had to try (He was doing so much better!) and failed and failed and failed and will wonder for the rest of my life if I couldn't have, if we couldn't have, done...something.
So strange. Yesterday when Owen asked me if Keith Richards was dead and I so blithely told him, "No dear. He's in Australia, about to play a concert," I was holding out the skull and crossbones scarf for him to take a picture of. And L'Wren hung herself with a scarf. And the Stones have, of course, canceled their concert in Australia.
I am not attributing one bit of anything woo-woo here at all. I am just saying that life is so weird.
And I am saying that mental illness is so real and it can kill you sure as any disease a lab can see under a microscope. And it doesn't matter if you are a famous author or a homeless person or a struggling musician or a beautiful, talented woman who seems to have the whole world in her hands.
It can kill you dead.
May she rest in peace, that beautiful woman who came such a far journey in this world. May those she left be behind somehow, at some point, manage to find a place of peace themselves about her death.
May we, as a species, learn better ways to deal with mental illness. May we learn to speak out about it, to be able, when we suffer from it, not to be made to feel guilty for having a disease which people who have never suffered from, can't imagine. May we realize that no one is immune to it, no matter how rich, how thin, how famous, how celebrated, how loved, how respected.
L'Wren's suffering is over and done. That is a fact and I do not judge her for choosing to take her own life. And I realize that as bad as I have felt at different points in my life, as much as I have wished for relief from the inner demons which have made my so very, very good life a living hell, I have never reached that point- the point where death was the only escape.
But I have been close enough to understand when someone else makes that choice.
And it saddens me to my very bones to know that it happens.
And I know the pain that those who loved her are suffering and that, too, saddens me deeply.
The Buddhists say that life is suffering and that may well be true but when the point comes in a life where the suffering is too great to bear and someone takes the only path which seems to them possible, it's scary and very real to those of us who have an inkling of what it's like.
And at the same time, we are so eternally grateful for whatever pulled us away from that brink, whether love or a medication or the support of a community or a combination of all of that and perhaps nothing more than incredibly fortunate grace.
The sun has just begun to come out. I have chores to attend to. I have a life I love and which I need to sustain because it sustains me. I will take my pill which has made such a difference in my mind, my soul, my body. I will take a walk, I will tend my animals. I will at once be so grateful and so saddened.
I will never really understand how any of this works and I'm not sure we're supposed to and most of us manage to keep on living through the suffering and the joy until the time when we ultimately cannot. And sometimes that time is caused by the body's failing and sometimes that time comes when the soul fails to see any hope at all.
May she rest in peace and may all of those who reached that point rest in peace.
May we have compassion for all of them.
And, as Elizabeth reminded me this morning already, may we have compassion for ourselves. Which, we agreed, is perhaps the hardest thing of all.