Matthew Perry and the Aching Void
Like so many, I was shocked and saddened to read the news of Matthew Perry’s death at 54. From all accounts to date, he died alone, at home in his hot tub.
I followed Perry on Instagram and remember seeing what would be the last photo he’d post, several days before his death. I studied it briefly and felt a sense of melancholy before scrolling on. Obviously someone took the photo, so he was not alone in that moment, but to my mind, the image depicted profound loneliness.
Or was that my own projection?
I’ve not read Perry’s memoir, and am not sure I will. I don’t need to feel horrified at the amount of alcohol and opioids he put into his body. I’m more interested in how he got to the point of needing all of it to dull the pain. His early family systems seem to have left him on an island. I think about that often when I come into contact with children of divorce—especially when each parent takes another partner and forms another family. Where do the original children fit as they shuttle back and forth between households?
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