good man, gifted,
gifting us through prolific imagination,
unleashed humor, amazing spontaneity …
So much written about R.W. Thus, Solomon’s piece, at the core of my writing: “It’s all been said before.”
Here are a few of the pieces of my processing of a disc-jockey in “Good Morning, Vietnam”, a professor in “Dead Poets Society”, Mrs.Doubtfire, Teddy Roosevelt in “Night at the Museum”, Ramon the penguin in “Happy Feet”, Maxwell “Wizard” Wallace in “August Rush” … Those are a few parts of Robin Williams.
I was the class comedian, high school, with a joke for anyone and everyone. The rush of making people laugh was amazing, and I studied the great comedians: Robin Williams, Bill Cosby, George Carlin, JerrySeinfield, Steve Martin. Robin Williams was … at times … present where I was, what I was doing. I read a magazine interview with Robin Williams, and among the many cool things I read I remember something that wasn’t so cool. I paraphrase: Williams said that at times he is not doing well, and he has to go somewhere by himself. After that point, I laughed at his prolific spontaneity linked up with his priceless humor … and I also couldn’t shake the idea that there was a dichotomy happening: humor / laughter … and melancholy / depression. The mixture of these two forces haunted me a bit … and it was because I wanted my depression that I have struggled with since I was a child to be separate from everyone. I wanted to go to Robin Williams for robust laughter, and I did not want to know that the man struggled with depression like I did. Incidentally, I didn’t know, when I was a child, that it was depression. I didn’t learn that it was depression until I was in graduate school (my late thirties) … Sounds crazy. Robin Williams, to a large degree helped me to release some of my “crazy”, and to be able to sit with all of this, and to laugh through this.
So, having said that … I have to get this pink elephant out of my “thinker”, and on to the white of the page. Here it is:
Suicide, yes I agree, is wrong.
So is condemnation.
So is judgment.
Our hearts SHOULD go out to the family folks of Robin Williams … Their pain is immeasurable: “No If’s, And’s, or But’s”.
Suicide does not have excuses.
Suicide does, however, have factors.
My opinion: there is a “dynamic” for some people where they are driven to run passionately away from their pain, from their mental illness, from their failures, their shame … toward something that relieves their suffering. And we all know, (I think we all know?) that the relief is ALWAYS temporary. The “Black Dog” / Depression is often times NOT temporary. When the performance is over, the depression remains.
Robin Williams messed up when he took his own life. But we should be able to tell our close friends that they messed up when they messed up. And our closest friends should be able to tell us we messed up, when we messed up. We can do that without condemnation. Do I condemn Robin Williams for taking his life? NO. Am I angry with Williams? YES. So, maybe the takeaway is this. We all need to “do” self-care. We need to take care of ourselves, well, so that we can bless our families. If we are wounded, and we are not doing our own work, then how can we be our best with those we love?