Peaches Geldof, daughter of rocker Bob and his late ex-wife Paula Yates, has died at the precious age of 25. She leaves behind two children and a husband, a promising career, and two sisters. She was famous, she was likely well-to-do, and she was beautiful. She was also a heroin addict desperate to get her next fix. That last fix took her away from us all, most importantly those close to her who loved her so.
Ms. Geldof was not very well-known in the United States. Her last name was unique and famous so perhaps this is why the U.S. media has paid attention to her tragic story. Her story is not so unique and is one attached to infamy and moral blame. Her story is one which people often like to point fingers at and blame media attention or the fact that she endured her own mother’s death from heroin. These particulars are handy when people want to distance themselves from the tragedy of addiction.
The truth is that Ms. Geldof was us. She was the emptiness which lies at the heart of a capitalist culture bent on the next purchase, the next product release, the next down payment on an item the budget can ill-afford. Her daily yearning for her drug of choice happened to be one which is forbidden and which often accompanies degradation and death. Had she chosen clothes, booze, power, or money as her drug of choice then no one would bat an eye. Those things don’t kill, they are all legal and sanctified by the marketplace.
If Peaches Geldof was like so many who suffer from the tragedy of addiction, it’s likely that she didn’t much care for herself. It’s certain that she endured a trauma. The death of a mother at age 11 is not an easy thing with which to cope and it can haunt a person for years. Survivors can blame themselves, or they can simply have a gnawing emptiness. Growing up in a family with means, she may have had counseling and other help to deal with the problem, but she also had money to purchase heroin and plenty of dealers who would kill for a client who could pay a premium, and who could pay in cash. Like so many of us, she turned to something outside of herself to solve her problems. She became dependent on that thing.
So many people rely on a sporting match to make them feel good on the weekend or take refuge in a pint of ice cream to melt the blues away. People seek their comfort. They seek it most often in things outside of themselves. Astrology tells them who they are and whom to mate with. The stock market tells them how good or bad their ability to earn is. Their careers give them self worth and a sense of self otherwise lacking in a culture where individual talent and creativity are on the wane as going concerns.
Most don’t turn to heroin. Most don’t need to. The fix is available all around. It is in the shopping mall, on the Internet, and on television. Some need more of a fix than others and so will turn to toxic chemicals like booze, pharmaceutical drugs, or cocaine. But a fix is a fix and all an empty soul needs is just one more fix. Just one more.
Heroin addiction took Peaches Geldof from us too soon and she leaves a wave of tragedy in her wake. She lived hard and fast, but her life was not so different. For all of her addictions, beauty, and status she was just like everyone else. Her celebrity allows the world a chance to look into the mirror and take a gander at our own flaws. It’s unlikely that many will. But the opportunity is there and it will continue to be there until a person is ready to see. Perhaps someone will. Until then, keep good thoughts for the innocent daughters Peaches Geldof left behind. Their legacy is not a happy one, but perhaps they can find the inner peace which so eluded their mother.
Commentary By Hobie Anthony