Yesterday was a hard day. The death of a celebrity does not often affect me other than in the most peripheral way; but, news that Robin Williams committed suicide yesterday left me weepy and decidedly rattled. It’s not like I had any special connection to him. I have enjoyed his movies, especially those more serious roles; but, if you had asked me before yesterday to name five favorite actors, I don’t know that Robin Williams would have immediately occurred to me.
I spent the drive home yesterday listening to updates on the news, with tears streaming uncontrollably down my face. When I got home, I found that I had missed a call from my mother. She simply said, “Robin fucking Williams?”
I called her back and we both cried. She was angry, and I was just unbearably sad.
You see, we both understand what Robin’s wife and kids are feeling today. When I was in junior high, my stepdad killed himself and my mother found him. All of that horror and confusion and agony came rushing back yesterday. It’s been thirty-two years since suicide brought our world crashing down; but, suddenly, I was feeling many of the same feelings of impotence and abandonment.
In the days and weeks to come, much will be discussed about suicide, depression, and addiction. Less will be mentioned about the survivors of suicide and what they went through in the years, months and days leading up to the death of their loved one.
There is little that compares to the slap in the face that is suicide. When you spend hours begging someone to get help, to hang on one more day, to STAY, suicide is the ultimate rejection.
Sure, everyone will tell you that suicide is not about you, that the person isn’t thinking of anyone else because they can’t. That’s the biggest insult of all. To know that nothing, nothing, and especially not you, were enough to spark some desire to live in a person makes you feel so small, so unimportant.
Before a person commits suicide, they cannot fathom what their death will do to those left behind or how it will spread out like the ripples on a pond. Our death was “small” in that my dad wasn’t famous; but, there have often been occasions where someone has approached me to talk about my dad and how his death had affected them
The death of Robin Williams will touch many, many people in unexpected ways. I am just one of them. Today, I’m holding Mr. Williams in my heart. I’m sorry that with all of the resources at his disposal, he couldn’t get the help that he needed and find it in himself to hold on for one more day. More importantly, I am sending love to his wife, his kids, his friends, his fans, to all of those people he has unforgivably crushed by giving up.