I was in the air when I heard the news. Husband and I were in the way back of a big United Airlines plane flying home from San Francisco. A mom in the row ahead of us pointed at the television she was watching. CNN, she mouthed two her husband. Their two kids played obliviously between them.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Found dead in his apartment downtown in the West Village. 46 years old. Drugs on the scene. The reporter interviewed a neighbor who talked about what a good dad he was, how he was always out and about with his three kids. Just a regular guy.
So sad. Heartbreaking and sad. For the remainder of our very choppy flight, I watched the coverage even though they kept repeating the same details over and over again. Heroin. Lifeless body. Three children. A brilliant talent. Clean for more than twenty years.
I don't really know what the point of this post is other to say that I, like many of you, am sad. I find myself, more than ever, thoughtful about addiction, on what it is and what it means, on what it can do and whom it can take from us. I don't have any particular expertise on the topic, but I do know people who suffer from addiction and are getting treatment and those who likely suffer from addiction who are not getting treatment. I also know that this is a topic that scares me, and personally. I have never gone near drugs and on one level, Philip's story seems so wildly foreign and other, but on the other hand, I have struggled, albeit on a much diluted level, and even if I cannot totally relate, which I really can't, I at least feel deep empathy for him, for his family.
What are we to make of stories like this one? Are we to simply allow ourselves sadness and move on, I suppose? Or are these stories perhaps occasions to stop and think and ask about the people in our own lives we worry about and wonder about, even if these people are ourselves?
Maybe it is good to be sad?
Maybe it is good to be scared?
Has addiction touched your life or the lives of those you love? How do stories like this one affect you or not affect you? Even if we cannot relate to tragedies like this one, do you think there is lesson in them? Any thoughtful articles on PSH's passing (or addiction in general) you'd be willing to link us to?