I remember reading about the death of my favorite author in 1984. Richard Brautigan. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot. I was shocked and sad because I would not get a chance to read more of his books. I loved them so. I felt he wrote like I think. My incomplete collection of his books is one of my prized possessions. One day I hope to complete it.
Maya Angelo pasted away in a natural way last spring. I admired that woman as much as I have anyone. She was a force of nature, a shining star, full or wisdom and love.
Yesterday when I read Robin Williams had died. I was as shocked as I was when I read about Richard Brautigan. My eyes welled with tears and my heart sank. I don’t think you can be that funny or that compassionate and not be hurting deep inside. Suicide was not the path I expected from him. It did however illustrate the depth of his pain.
Lots of folks decide to end their lives. I’ve thought about it and probably you have too. Nevertheless, we trudge on, live another day, and eventually things get better. Depression is part of life. Some of us are able to manage the dark side and some of us aren’t; at least not without help.
Help comes in many forms. For some it is therapy and prescribed drugs, for others it is self-medication, avoidance and denial. I lost a friend 5 yrs ago. He took his own life. There were signs, and there was avoidance and denial. Finally, one morning, we were reading his last letter and he was gone.
His letter helped me better understand why people take their own lives. This was what I thought about last night. My friend’s letter left me feeling as if he knew there was no other way. He had done all he could and had no other choice. Society mandates there is always help and a different choice but after reading this last letter, I suddenly knew differently, it almost made it OK.
I know this all sounds crazy and a good doctor would probably love to get me in therapy. Robin Williams had been in therapy and rehab. He still chose to end his life.
Last night my mind was racing with thoughts about the struggles some people face. I thought about all the Mork and Mindy reruns I watched and all the wonderful movies Robin stared in. Now, like Richard Brautigan books or poems, there won’t be anymore. He decided he had to go.
His family, I am sure, is deeply sad by this. I am sad too. I know Robin, like all those before him will find peace in the spirit world.
Robin Williams’ comic genius is gone. I will savor his wisdom and his legacy of film, be more kind to others and hope to better recognize pain when I see it. The turmoil in our world today makes some pain easy to see. It’s the pain that we don’t see, the pain that folks keep hidden that we need to look for.
This is the pain that lives in the darkest recesses of our soul. This is the pain we need to be more open with and more accepting of. This is the pain that leaves us feeling there is no choice and no way out. This is the pain that is found hiding in darkest recesses of the brightest and most gifted. No doubt it is part of what makes them great but it can also snuffs out the light and the life. Memories are a good thing.
RIP Robin Williams. Thanks for tall you left us with. Thanks for being you.