Dear Philip,

I didn’t know you, and you didn’t know me. But yesterday the world went into shock at the news of your death. Not nearly as much shock as your three kids will be when they find out they lost their father.

I have to write because your death hit me deep.


Deep in the place of a great dark understanding.

I understand why you took that needle in your arm. I totally get it. But your kids won’t. Their mother won’t. The world won’t. Because you couldn’t see past your own demons, or see the enormous love that surrounds you. In that moment you were myopically focused on one thing and one thing only, your escape.

And we, this world will suffer because of that one choice of yours.

You are not invincible. An Oscar, money and fame. None of that took away that bottomless hurt that made you need to escape. That made you crave the high that never satisfies and will never be enough.

Your one choice will rock this world for many years to come.

Sure you aren’t the President or Mother Theresa and you might even say that you made some horrible mistakes. Didn’t you realize that you mattered? Every human on this earth matters? Maybe you didn’t think you mattered enough and would be ok to take that last hit. No high will ever be enough to compare with the reality that you my friend were a gift to so many.

Your gift was your thorn, and it has killed you. Your ability to transform yourself into the darkness of your most complex characters made us laugh, cry, and scream sometimes. You were able to get in there to the darkest places, and I wonder if that took you too far? To know and understand the complexity and tragedy in life can sometimes overwhelm us to the point of needing to shut it all out. And it must have been too much for you.

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
― Brené Brown

What makes me so upset though is that despite your fame, your extraordinary talent, you struggled with the same thing that so many millions battle every day. Every day wanting to escape, wanting that one last high. I see them in the work I do, they think they aren’t the sickest. They live in their pink cloud believing it will never happen to them. They aren’t the ones who will be taken under by the grim reaper of addiction. But no one is immune. Any addict is one hit, or one drink, or one purge away from death.

May your death be a message to not only those struggling to get help now, but to those walking alongside. For friends and family to start talking openly with those battling the addiction. It pains me to think that maybe you could have called someone, and could have made a different choice in that moment. And I also know that your addiction was stronger than your choice. What if someone had reached you earlier? What if you called your sponsor or your counselor or your kids? Then would you have made a different choice? We will never know because that one choice killed you.

May you rest in peace dear soul.

Lee Blum

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