How Anderson Cooper & Gloria Vanderbilt coped after suicide of beloved brother and son, Carter Cooper

 

I remember reading about the suicide of Gloria Vanderbilt’s son, Carter Cooper, many years ago.  It was after my own suicide attempt and there was an eerie feeling that came over me that I just couldn’t explain.  I read the article slowly and remember it being a warm, summer afternoon.  Perhaps I found the article in one of my mother’s Vogue magazines.

Ironically, I went on to become a crisis intervention and suicide prevention counselor for LGBT youth years after my own suicide attempt.  I also participated in the “Out of the Darkness Walks” in Chicago for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention as a walker and member of their CREW.

Thus I found value in the article on how Anderson Cooper & Gloria Vanderbilt coped after the suicide of their beloved brother and son, Carter Cooper.

We all too often hear of the LGBT youth and the high suicide rates.  Although Carter wasn’t gay the article shows the impact that suicide can have on a family or their loved ones who are left behind.

I also can’t help but think of those who were unloved and committed suicide.   I wonder if anybody prayed for them or gave them a voice.

What I find interesting is how Anderson Cooper chose to cope:

“I started going overseas and going to places where life and death was very real and where people were suffering tremendous loses. Hearing their stories and hearing people talk about it sort of helped me to get to a place where I could talk about it, I think,” he explains.

His response sounds very similar to how Danielle Steel spent time helping the homeless whom she felt were more miserable than herself after the suicide of her son, Nick.

I went to church, trying to pray about who I could help who was more miserable than I. The message came to help the homeless. I didn’t want to hear it. Homeless people had always scared me. My son Nick was never homeless, but had great compassion for them. Finally, grudgingly and nervously, I embarked on what I hoped would be a one-time mission. Instead, it became a labor of love that changed my life. – Danielle Steel

Thus the article below gives us an insight into the pain left behind on the lives of the loved ones.  Perhaps it is also a message for those left behind to turn their pain into power.

To those struggling with thoughts of suicide find hope and don’t let go because hope is the major weapon against suicide.  Faith and spirituality is an unobstructed path to hope.

Sometimes when things seem difficult in our human experience, we are inclined to discount this hope. We deny that it is legitimate or push it back as too good to be true, to be Truth.
 .
And yet it still remains there, ready for our acknowledgement. For that hope of good, peace, and joy, is God speaking to us, calling us to believe. And when we do, we find that that small drop of conscious awareness of God can’t help but overflow, filling us up with Truth and Love, and washing away the doubts and fears. This hope, this connection with God that material sense would hide, is our true guide and forever friend. It leads us home and impels us to bring healing hope, light, joy, and peace to others as well.  – Laura Moliter, CS (e-inspire, April 1st)

Special thanks to Anderson Cooper for all he has done for the LGBT community by being a force for good and having a voice.

Truth, Wisdom, Love and Sincerity, to ALL Mankind.

Rob Scott

Oaxaca, Mexico

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Anderson, a 60 Minutes contributor and anchor of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, also reflects on how his brother’s death affected his career choices, and how his work in turn helped him make sense of his personal loss.

“I started going overseas and going to places where life and death was very real and where people were suffering tremendous loses. Hearing their stories and hearing people talk about it sort of helped me to get to a place where I could talk about it, I think,” he explains.

Anderson Cooper

 

How Anderson Cooper & Gloria Vanderbilt coped after suicide of beloved brother and son, Carter Cooper

 

This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.com

staff@ew.com (Kathy Ehrich Dowd / PEOPLE)
March 31, 2016

It’s been 28 years since Carter Cooper’s death by suicide at age 23, but brother Anderson Cooper and mom Gloria Vanderbilt say they have still not achieved closure – and actually detest that word.

“The most terrible word in the English language, ‘closure,’” Vanderbilt, 92, says in a recent interview with PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly editorial director Jess Cagle.

“It doesn’t exist. There’s no such thing,” adds Cooper, 48.

Carter left a permanent hole in their hearts after he died in July 1988 after swinging off the terrace wall of his mother’s 14th floor Manhattan apartment. His passing came ten years after the death of Carter and Anderson’s father, author Wyatt Cooper, a man Anderson and Vanderbilt both describe as the glue who held the family together.

Vanderbilt, who looked on helplessly during Carter’s final moments, says her bond with Anderson became stronger after Carter’s death, even if holidays like Christmas were never the same.

“Well, I remember the first Christmas we were together after it happened – cause he died July 22 – and we went to the movies,” she says while looking over at Anderson. “And then we went to the automat, and from then on we’ve never done anything about Christmas.”

Anderson agrees with his mom, then adds: “I think it obviously brought us together in ways and I think you can’t help but come closer going through something like that, and, you know, it left us with each other. And, I think it’s still hard to believe it’s been so long because I think it’s still so present in our lives, that sense of loss.”

The television journalist painfully ponders the person his brother (who would have been 50 this year) might have become, and how their relationship could have deepened over the years.

“I think it’s hard for me to imagine that he would be 50,” Anderson says. “It’s stunning for me to think of how long ago it was that he died, that I’ve lived more of my life without him than I lived with him. That’s incomprehensible to me. He’s forever frozen in time.”

“When we were growing up, I used to imagine us being adults and being closer when we were adults and having families and kind of getting to know each other in a new way, and we never had that opportunity,” he continues.

Anderson, a 60 Minutes contributor and anchor of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, also reflects on how his brother’s death affected his career choices, and how his work in turn helped him make sense of his personal loss.

“I started going overseas and going to places where life and death was very real and where people were suffering tremendous loses. Hearing their stories and hearing people talk about it sort of helped me to get to a place where I could talk about it, I think,” he explains.

Vanderbilt, meanwhile, has always welcomed people telling stories about Carter, even if they felt awkward bringing him up.

“Some people … who knew Carter will start to talk about him and then say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry.’ And I say, ‘No, I love to talk about him. More, more, more.’ Because that brings him alive and it brings him closer and it means that he hasn’t been forgotten.”

Vanderbilt says Carter lives on in her memories, even if after nearly 30 years it’s getting increasingly difficult to separate memories from myth.

“I think that maybe it was some kind of dream that happened and he seems so real to me still … Does that make any sense?” she says.

“You’re saying you still dream of him?” Anderson asks in response.

“Yes, I do,” she replies.

“And the dream feels very real?” he asks.

“The dream feels absolutely real,” she says. “Just as a real as we are here.”

http://www.people.com/article/anderson-cooper-gloria-vanderbilt-carter-suicide

Cooper and Vanderbilt’s relationship will be featured in an upcoming HBO documentary and, before that, in a memoir, The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son Talk About Life, Love, and Loss, due out April 5.

How Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt Coped After the Suicide of Their Beloved Brother and Son, Carter Cooper| Death, Suicide and Attempts, Anderson Cooper, Gloria Vanderbilt

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