Monday, August 11, 2014

Robin Williams, R.I. P.

I gasped audibly. I was looking at AOL's home page, and I couldn't believe it. Robin Williams was dead.

I know we all have to die someday. But no one was expecting this. Or were they? Williams has had problems with drugs and alcohol for years, and the news reports said he'd been struggling with severe depression recently.

I've been depressed a lot in my life. But it never got so bad that I tried to commit suicide. There are issues I have had to deal with for decades, and I still can't really figure them out, or pinpoint where or how things went wrong, although I'm trying. I'm also trying to make peace with things I don't know how to change, no matter how hard I try. As depressing and hopeless as the problem seems, that isn't the MAIN thing in my life. There are other aspects of my life that I do enjoy, and I try to experience those things as much as I can.

Who DIDN'T love Robin Williams? Rarely do you see actors/performers who can do both comedy and drama well. Usually, it's one or the other, but Williams could do both, sometimes in the same movie. I remember Mrs. Doubtfire, and thinking, I have to take my mom to see this. I knew she would crack up when Williams, as Euphegenia Doubtfire, accidentally lights his fake breasts on fire while attempting to cook dinner for his first day on the job as a nanny/housekeeper to his children and former wife. It is a great movie, and wonderful to see a dad so devoted to his kids as Daniel Hillard was. Movie dads sometimes get the short end of the stick. Williams gives a wonderful performance as a father who would do anything to spend more time with his kids--including dressing up in drag.



Williams was just so talented--to the point where you wondered how anyone could be that quick, that funny. What must it have been like to live in a mind like that? Maybe it wasn't fun all the time, as we've seen. Obviously, something was going on, to abuse drugs and alcohol. And it's sad, but so many really talented people from different areas of creativity--acting, writing, sculpting, singing, dancing--seem to struggle even though they become successful. While hundreds if not thousands of stand up comics would love to have even a tenth of the success Williams has, does having talent mean you'll also be saddled with mental illness? Would those comics trade their lives for Williams after what happened today?

It's too easy, if you're just an ordinary person, to say, "why would they do that?" If you are a struggling artist, or struggling at whatever it is you're doing, to look at someone like Williams and say, "he had it all, why would he kill himself?" He lived in a beautiful part of the country, he certainly had enough money to have a good life, people around the world loved him, and he had a loving spouse and children. So why would he kill himself?

If he felt that his depression wouldn't get better, no matter what, he probably decided he didn't want to live like that. A neighbor committed suicide almost thirty years ago. He had suffered a stroke, and I am not sure what his level of recovery was, or what was predicted. Not wanting to wait to see if he'd get better, he shot himself. Never mind that he had a family who loved him. If you can't live with yourself, how can you find happiness?

It's too bad. I wish he knew that no matter what he struggled with, that people loved him. They may not have known him personally, but they admired his work, and people and organizations he tried to help along the way.

I know we all have to go sometime, but I wasn't expecting to read the words, "Robin Williams Dead" for at least another twenty years. R.I. P. You WILL be missed.


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