Human Frailty

vicki hinze, human frailty



Vicki Hinze 

© 2014


This week yet another iconic individual in our culture fell, and while we grieve the loss, feel empathy for the family and pray for comfort and peace for all impacted, we also ask ourselves How many more must we lose before we accept that we are all fragile?


From the outside, we see a successful person with fame, fortune, family—by the usual perimeters, we think, He has it all.  And we see this icon as proof that we too can have it all.  That serves as a guidepost, a beacon of hope to those of us struggling in our own lives.


But that is only the view from outside.


From the inside, as we are learning now, the view is that of a man also struggling with a long history of addiction (no one is immune; if you partake, you’re vulnerable), two divorces (always hard for everyone involved) that impacted his life just as divorces impact our lives:  emotionally, physically, spiritually, and fiscally.  We see a man who battled depression, who had the courage and wisdom to acknowledge and accept he needed help, to seek help, and who spoke openly of his struggles, making those listening aware that we’re all human and frail and vulnerable.  That we’re all subject to challenges.  We all struggle.


No one is immune from struggles.  No one.


In this case, he had remarried, and this event that ended his life stunned his wife.  She wants people to remember not the suicide but the positive and joyful impact he had on so many lives across so many generations.


While we need to remember both, we must understand the pain of this loss from her perspective.  The bald truth of the questions and doubts she has to be experiencing.  Suicide never impacts just one person.  It impacts that person and everyone else in that person’s circle.  The closer within the inner circle, the more significant the impact.  For those in the inner circle particularly, inevitable guilt and doubt and questions creep in and sink their talons into us.  Why didn’t I see it?  Why didn’t I know?   How could things be this bad and I be unaware they were this bad so I could do something?


Those are just a sampling of the questions.  By no means all of them.  Blame and fault are assigned, justly or unjustly, because that’s what human beings do.  And it will take a long time for the human frailty in those left behind to reach the point that those impacted grasp and believe that if one is bent on killing him or herself, s/he will find a way.


In cases like this one, where a wrist attempt was made first, that’s typically revealed to be a cry for help.  That bit of information will kick the proverbial backsides of those left behind for a long time, too.  Fair or not, just or not, logical or not, the kicks will come, and they require support and care and attention and help to be coped with rationally.


I’m diverting from my intent here.  My points are these:


1.  Everyone struggles.  Everyone has challenges.  Everyone is vulnerable.  Everyone is fragile.


2.  We often see icons and never really see the human beings in them.  We gauge their conduct, their behavior, their possessions and deem their lives struggle-free.  None are.


3.  We rarely see the internal struggles, the personal struggles that aren’t in the headlines on icons or in our neighbors, friends, and family members.


4.  I have to say it.  Some think an addiction to drugs, illegal or legal but abused prescription drugs, only hurts those who can’t handle them.  The truth is no one can handle them.  They might get lucky, skate past serious challenges for a time, but sustained use leads down a dark and lonely road—and we have abundant evidence in early deaths to prove it.


I’m sad at the loss of yet another positive personality.  A gifted artist who shared his talent and unique self with the rest of us to brighten our days.  I’m sad that his days were dark—they had to be to bring him to do this.  And I wonder…


How many more wonderful souls must we lose before we, collectively and individually, reach out to those we know are struggling and do what we can do to help them?


We have seen Hollywood come together in support after 9/11.  After a tidal wave in a nation far away.  To provide food and water for those living on another continent.  We’ve even seen our icons gather for political purposes, to feed the hungry.  But we haven’t seen much in the way of Hollywood coming together to help its own.


Perhaps it does and does so quietly.  Behind the scenes.  Without bright lights and cameras and concerts.  I hope it does.  I hope and pray that it does more.


And I also hope that the members of that community will use their assets—time, energy and money—to not glamorize drugs but to collectively and individually help themselves and their peers who influence so many in this country and beyond it.


Many among their ranks thought they could handle it but discovered they are as subject as everyone else to human frailty.

Accidental or Intentional, let us not forget them…

Robin Williams, Whitney Houston, Anna Marie Nicole, Heath Ledger, Seymour Hoffman, vicki hinze, social n network, frailty


Unfortunately, I’m so very sorry to say, there are many, many more who have fallen to human frailty, including:


Corey Monteith, Michael Jackson, Chris Kelly, Lisa Robin Kelly, Whitney Houston, Anna Nicole Smith, Ike Turner, Jeff Hannerman, Michael Carl Baze, Derek Boogaard, Amy Winehouse, Erica Blasberg, Billy Mays, Christopher Bowman, Elisa Bridges, Darrell Porter, Chris Farley, Margeaux Hemingway, Kurt Cobain, River Phoenix, David Waymer,  Abbie Hoffman, Chet Baker, Richard Burton, Truman Capote, David Kennedy, John Belushi, John Bonham, Keith Moon, Elvis Presley, Freddie Prinze, Howard Hughes, Bruce Lee, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Brian Jones, Brian Epstein, Lenny Bruce, Billy Holiday, Tommy Dorsey, Hank Williams, Sr., Sigmund Freud, Jim Morrison, Sid Vicious, Sunanda Tharoor, Corey Hairn, Lenny Bruce, Dorothy Dandridge, Curt Henning, Dana Plato, Greg Giraldo, Donyale Luna, Jean Seberg, George Sanders, John Entwistle, Edie Sedgwick, Anissa Jones, Inger Stevens, Bon Scott, Aimee Semple McPherson, Brad Renfro, Bubba Smith, Glenn Quinn, Christopher Pettlet, Alan Ladd, Robert Pastorelli, Trevor Goddard, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Carl Steven, Nick Adams, Max Cantor, Mitch Hedberg, Kenneth Williams, Nigel Green,

Scotty Beckett, Adam Goldstein, Daniel Smith, Scott Bigelow, Frankie Lymon, Eric Douglas, Michael Walker, Dan Vadis, Chester Morris, Layne Staley, Matthew Ansara, Rodney Harvey, Guru Dutt, James Hayden, David Lochary, Harold Pruett, GG Allin, Nick Drake, Dave Brockie, Tony Hancock, Jean Michael Basquiat, Dee Dee Ramone, Howard Marion-Crawford, Peter Watts, Andrew Martin, and 149 more….

[Sources:  drugs.com/celebrity_deaths.html, dnaindia.com, ranker.com, imdb.com]


I wonder what each of the fallen would advise us today.  Perhaps to be aware, to understand, to seek help, to not despair, to reach out, to embrace another struggling.


Looking at those faces and reading the lists, I feel the weight of the fragile.  For every person listed, there are hundreds who could be and are not.


Knowing that, we must make it a priority to first help ourselves.  For if we do not help ourselves, we will not be in a position to help others.  And clearly others need that help.  Secondly, we help others, fully aware and not blinded into believing that we’re the exception and somehow exempt.  Believing that we can handle whatever struggle alone.


We must make it our priority to learn from those who fell to frailty before, and, for all our strength and power and clout and whatever, for ourselves and our characters, understand that we too are frail.




vicki hinze, her perfect life, military novel

A POW Returns Home But Finds Home is Gone


© 2014, Vicki Hinze. Hinze is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is Down and Dead in Dixie. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s online community: Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. www.vickihinze.com.



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