The death of Philip Seymour Hoffman hits close to home. He grew up in Rochester, NY living only 25 minutes from my home. He has family here and often returned to his alma mater, Fairport High School. I am sad not only because he was truly a talented man but because he perished so young. There are many news stories circulating about the circumstances of his death being caused by an over dose. Hoffman struggled with addiction for many years.
Yesterday I saw about a half a dozen different news outlet’s headlines popping up in my newsfeed. All were saying roughly the same thing- wonderful actor, too young, gentle and kind man. When I began reading the comments posted to the news posts, I was beyond upset and even disgusted at what some people wrote. When someone dies due to addiction, it does not diminish their death or their life, for that matter. I know it is hard for people to understand that even though one can “choose” to begin using a certain drug or “choose” to drink alcohol, what they do not “choose” is the pre-disposed, biological mind-set that puts so many individuals down this path. Addiction is a disease and an extremely sad one at that.
Imagine being so distraught, depressed and even physically ill and dependent on a substance, that it controls your entire life. Who would “choose” that?
I am deeply saddened for this man and his family. My heart goes out to them for having to put up with heartless individuals who will comment on the way he died- judging him. How hurtful that must be when already mourning the loss of your husband, father, son or friend.
The world lost a gifted man too soon. No matter how many times we see this happen in Hollywood, it does not become less sad or thought provoking. It is the gifted people, the inwardly focused and reflective artists who often suffer from mental illness and addiction. They feel very deeply and often struggle with depression; addiction is one way they cope with their mental illness or hard ship. This is another chance for our society to better understand addiction and mental illness- not berate this man for losing his own battle way too young.