Robin Williams once said, “Comedy is cheaper than therapy.”
Unfortunately, we were so busy laughing with him, we didn’t notice he was no longer laughing with us.
Why do I feel such a loss? I didn’t know Robin Williams, personally anyway. Maybe because in a way, I grew up with him. He certainly made me laugh and made the best movies. I loved him in Mrs. Doubtfire and The Birdcage. And I can’t wait to see what’s still to come from him, since he has several other movies currently in production that will come out later this year.
Or maybe it was the tragic end to such brilliance. The thought that such a fabulous, talented individual would feel so low that taking his own life was better than staying on this earth hit me so hard right in my heart and made me feel so sorry for the depth of the depression he must have been feeling to have made that choice. But somehow, as hard as it is to accept, freedom of choice is what all of us are faced with.
Zelda Williams, Robin’s daughter, said, “He was always warm, even in his darkest moments. While I’ll never, ever understand how he could be loved so deeply and not find it in his heart to stay, there’s minor comfort in knowing our grief and loss, in some small way, is shared with millions. It doesn’t help the pain…..Dad was, is and always will be one of the kindest, most generous, gentlest souls I’ve ever known, and while there are few things I know for certain right now, one of them is that not just my world, but the entire world is forever a little darker, less colorful and less full of laughter in his absence. We’ll just have to work twice as hard to fill it back up again.”
Depression is such a troubling and tricky disease. According to NBC News, self-harm has been taking more lives annually around the world than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. There are peaks and valleys in life, and the valleys are what define you. I feel it is important not to let his tragic finale outshine his brilliant performances, and perhaps his final act can be a wakeup call for others. Know you are not alone, and you are loved. Reach out for help. The National Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) can help.
We are here to learn in this lifetime, and our acquired wisdom is the reward of our existence. Experience is our teacher from birth to death, enrolled in this earthly school, and is always changing. The lessons, although they take many forms, present us with many different challenges that help us learn. Some are once-in-a-lifetime lessons that touch us so deeply that they change the course of our lives and cause us to wander unwillingly for a time. But it is what we can learn from our experiences that will determine the quality of our lives. What can we learn from this tragic ending to a wonderful life? We can reach out to others that may need help and bring awareness to depression and suicide. We can offer to be there for someone who can use a hug today and treat each other in a kinder manner overall. You may never know the difference a kind word or good deed can make in someone’s life. In this dark hour, the world needs your light. How can you make a difference today?
Ironically, Williams reflected. “At one point the joke was that there’s a movie out without you in it. You have this idea that you’d better keep working, otherwise people will forget. And that was dangerous. And then you realize, no, actually if you take a break people might be more interested in you.”
The world is constantly changing, and death is a definite for everyone I’ve met so far. But Robin is still with us and always will be: his humor, funny antics and movies will be replayed over and over again and will never get old. He is just in a different dimension now. One most of us cannot see or hear, but we can know and feel his presence. I’m convinced that his light will continue to shine long after his passing, and feel that if he’s not making God laugh then I don’t know who will.
As the Academy of Motion Pictures put it, “Genie, you are free.”
Marianne Williamson said, “One theory of death is that, upon our passing, we experience our lives again backwards. Whatever I gave or did not give to others, I will experience what they experienced — times ten. That would mean that for every laugh — either a small chuckle or outright guffaw –every smile that Robin Williams caused to occur in others, he is now experiencing tenfold. That would amount to bliss unending. May it be so.”
Juxtaposed with both irony and tragedy, of course, is the unspeakable suffering that would have led to his death, and the grief today of those who knew him best and loved him most. Let’s hold both truths in our hearts — a deep appreciation that a comic genius walked among us and shared his gifts with us, thanks for the opportunity we had and still have to enjoy his talent, and prayers of peace for his soul and comfort for his family.
May Robin Williams be blessed.
May he find in heaven the peace he could not find on earth.
May he know now the joy that he gave to all of us.
Give comfort to his family,
and rest unto his soul.
With a heavy heart… till next week…