The veteran actor lived a long life during which he had to bury his youngest child too. To express his pain, he took up the pen and wrote about it.
Veteran actor Kirk Douglas has lived a long and full life. One may even say that he has had the experiences of many lifetimes in one. He has experienced joy and pain equally in his life. When he passed away in his 103rd year, on February 5, 2020, the man was surrounded by his family and friends who loved him and wanted the best for him. But in his long and illustrious life, he has also had to bury a child and that pain is one of the most terrible things a parent can go through.
Eric Douglas, Kirk's youngest son and half-brother to Michael Douglas, was found dead in his New York City apartment in July 2004. The 46-year-old actor and aspiring stand-up comic was discovered by a housekeeper, according to People. Eric was an unsuccessful actor who had many brushes with the law before passing away. It was later determined that he died of an accidental overdose, according to Fabiosa.
He was jailed in 1996 for a night for damaging his rental car and two other vehicles due to an alleged drunken-driving incident. Later that year, he spent a month in jail for being "loud and verbally abusive" in an aircraft. The next year, he had been arrested for possession of drugs and anti-depressant pills. The year before he died, he was thrown out of a hotel room when he was found drunk, according to People.
The Douglas family had been “very shocked and saddened” when Eric passed away. The family had sought privacy then and the then 87-year-old Kirk didn't express his pain over losing his youngest child.
His oldest son, Michael, once told The Guardian that Kirk was a film star first and a father second though that changed after his marriage to Anne Buydens. "He was, and is, incredibly dynamic, larger than life, sometimes aggressive, a very masculine man who loved women," said Michael. And yet, he has had a large influence in his life. As to the question why Kirk wasn't able to express his pain, perhaps the answer lies in the image he had to create of himself.
The Paths of Glory and Spartacus actor, who awed us on the screen, thanks to the rough and masculine energy, was probably trapped in his own creation. But, as is popularly known, he was a proficient writer. All the feelings bottled within came out in his letters that his wife and he exchanged over their more than six decades-long marriage. The couple even published books of their letters that showed how deeply both understood each other.
It was through his words, that the elderly Douglas patriarch expressed the pain in his heart over his son, Eric, whose death had been untimely and unexpected for the family. He wrote an elegy called “For Eric" to sum up the pain of a parent who lost a child, according to KirkDouglas.com.
"I sit by your grave and weep,
Silently, not to disturb your sleep.
Rest in peace my beautiful son
It won’t be long before we are one,
While I lie down by your side.
And talk, no secrets to hide.
Tell me, Eric, what did I do wrong?
What should I have done to make you strong?
Now I sit here and cry,
Waiting to be with you when I die."