No doubt, this blog will upset some people, anger others and cause yet more people to label me as insensitive. I don’t care.
Robin Williams took the coward’s way out.
OK, you’re depressed, you think no one cares. Robin, you were too smart to think no one cared about you. You had a wife and little kid, not to mention the grown ones. You had an adoring public. You spent your lifetime making us care and we couldn’t get enough. Mork & Mindy, the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin, the serious actor in Dead Poet’s Society or the Academy Award winner in “Goodwill Hunting.” One of my favorite roles was his portrayal in “Good Morning, Vietnam.”
You were brilliant, or so I thought. You battled depression demons, that was no secret, but take your meds. Or, go online and ask, “Hey, does anybody out there really like me?” Within minutes, Robin, people would have reached out to you by the thousands.
Speaking as a fan, I just don’t get it. You went to rehab, had several marriages, your life had some incredible highs and disastrous lows. I would have gladly been your life coach. I would have helped you realize just how much you meant to people.
I guess you live long enough, you rack up quite a count of people you know who commit suicide. A former radio colleague, an uncle, one of my son’s classmates in junior high. In all my years on this rock, if there’s one lesson I’ve learned, it’s that suicide doesn’t make the pain disappear. You just spread it around among those who care the most about you.
Are you really that selfish? You know how dark you feel–do you really want other people to absorb your suffering, your pain? There is no better word than selfish.
Robin’s life was full of extreme ups and downs. I was just saying to someone today, as much as I would love to be a famous comedian, it seems as though the bulk of them are such tortured souls. Perhaps being in the middle of the pack, with more moderate highs and lows, is a great place to be.
I think that almost everyone has, at one point, let their guard down enough to think, “Hmm, what if I were to just end it?” Back in college, my high school sweetheart decided to break up with me to turn around and marry a junior minister two months later. I remember driving along the I-5 express lanes one day and giving serious thought to driving into the cement pillars at the exit. Quick, done, over.
Had I done that and left behind a legacy of pain, I also never would have had the kids and grandkids I enjoy today…have experience an amazing 30-year-old radio career….or met the woman I am lucky enough to call my wife.
Robin Williams was an amazing talent. He could have stayed anonymous and just been the life of the party at his friends’ house. But he chose to seek the limelight, to make us care and boy, did we. He was brilliant, hilarious and sincere, but his last act was that of a complete coward.
Before yesterday, we’d watch any Robin Williams movie and, at the end, marvel at his talent. Now, at the end of each film, our admiration will quickly turn to sadness as we think to ourselves, “That’s too bad about him.”
There are lots of ways to feel after someone you knows commits suicide. I’ll get to sadness, but right now I’m embracing anger, because I never want suicide to be OK, to be considered just something people do when they’re having a bad stretch of days. You don’t know what up’s are unless you experience the down’s. Life is just the way.
I don’t mean to take away from Robin’s brilliant body of work, but that’s being pushed aside for a while so we can remind the rest of us that depression kills. Talk to someone. No matter how much you think the world doesn’t care, we really do.
Robin, that included you.