It’s been a little over 24 hours since I found out. I’m still in a fog. I never met Robin Williams. I lived in LA for 20 years, SF for 6, NY for 4 and we never crossed paths. But I grew up with him on my tv and in the movie theaters. I was a pre-teen who found his stand up too disconcerting to laugh with. I was a teenager who caught up to his manic comedy. And then I became an adult who followed him in all his films, from the sweet, desperate ex-husband in Mrs. Doubtfire to the dark Rainbow world of Death to Smoochy.
A man with so much to live for committed suicide. And that is exactly how it works. That is how depression works. It is a thief. A fucking idiot pickpocket, stealing a piece of your soul every second of the day until you find yourself empty. And you can have everything. Absolutely everything. But that fucker depression takes every piece of your heart so all that “stuff to live for” is just stuff. It’s just cardboard cutouts of life. What gives us the ability to feel the dimension of love is oh so stealthily plucked from our insides by a chemical imbalance.
And to think, if that depression passed, if he failed, if he survived, the cycle would start all over. He would get a little better, and a little better, until he was happy. He would experience more joy and more sorrow, more joy, more sorrow. He would have lived, sometimes with all the depth life offers, sometimes with cardboard cutouts.
This effortless student:
This honest self-examiner:
This brilliant artist:
I want to say I appreciate my friends and family more, but I don’t. I want to tell you all to go hug your loved ones. To talk to your friends. To reach out when you need help. I can’t. Right now, I can’t. It’s okay though, because there’s plenty of people on facebook and twitter doing that. And for that I’m grateful. But for me, in this moment, I can just fear my own mortality. Fear my own demons. Feel terror that someday they might win.
I bet if Robin Williams was sitting across from me, he’d shake his head with that smile and those eyes. He’d likely go off on a seeming non sequitur. Do an impression. And I’d laugh. But, being me, I’d laugh with an awkward discomfort because I’d feel just as strongly the dark passenger in Williams’ bright light. Robin Williams was the most talented at making us laugh while we cried. Showing us a deep sorrow in his eyes while tickling us with his words and movement. He was a genius orchestra maestro of emotions. And for that, that and so much more, he will be missed.
Goodbye, Mr Williams. You gave us laughter and insight.