David Letterman said, “Beyond being a good friend, I had no idea that the man was in pain, that the man was suffering”. He was referring to the death of Robin Williams. Those words have haunted me from the moment I heard them. I have no idea if they were truly good friends or if the words “good friend” were used loosely by David Letterman. And I’m really not completely clear why those words bothered me except to say that I wondered if Robin Williams suffered in isolation. I can’t think of anything worse than suffering in isolation especially in a room full of people. I did hear Billy Crystal say that Robin reached out to him and they spoke on a daily basis, sometimes a few times a day. I was relieved to hear that the two had such a lovely connection.
I am also haunted by the way that Robin Williams killed himself. Any suicide is tragic. Death by hanging, I don’t know, it just feels so brutal to me. I know that men tend to commit suicide in a more aggressive manner such as a gunshot and women tend to do so less aggressively such as pills. As I type this though I am still cringing at the thought of him dying by hanging.
I have written three blogs about Robin Williams death. I posted none of them. As I read back over them, the first one sounded preachy about depression. The other two were all over the place. I just could not seem to find my authentic voice about why I am so impacted by his death.
I always thought he looked terribly sad, even when he was delivering his brilliant humor, I saw sadness in his eyes. And yet, there was always something so engaging about him, so likeable and you just felt the connection, well I did anyway and with all the tributes that I have been watching and reading, it is clear that I am not alone. Maybe I find his death disheartening because he was so brilliant, successful, loved; this list goes on and on, so why could he not be helped. Ahhhh maybe it’s the helplessness that is really affecting me. As a psychotherapist, it is my hope that if I authentically care and try my absolute best to understand another that I will guide them out of such darkness. This is the part where I find myself wanting to get preachy about the importance of really listening and understanding another. Rather than getting preachy, I will just say that I am so sad for Robin Williams. I am so sad that such suffering exists. It is truly awful that someone who took such pleasure in making others laugh and making others happy suffered so terribly. And I am so sad for his loved one’s who lost him.
He clearly left a legacy of laughter, genius, love and now loss. I will continue to think about Robin Williams in both his life and his death. Honestly, I’m not even sure what will come of my continuing to think about Robin Williams. Maybe if I have a moment when I am struggling to understand what another goes through, I will think of Robin Williams and simply try harder, it’s just that important.
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