Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,
Monday evening I learned that Robin Williams died, apparently because he decided it was time to go. Newspaper articles state he suffered from severe depression and had, on and off, been more than a dabbler in the use of drugs and alcohol.
I felt numb when I found out. I wasn't without feelings, uncaring. I felt as if I were in a bubble and nothing could touch me.
You see, it could have been me––except I wouldn't get all this publicity, thank God.
I started to feel the loss on Tuesday when I read a headline that said something to the effect of the following: Robin Williams needed to know that depression is temporary and that people who are suicidal should ask for help.
The problem with all these platitudes and "it's gonna be okay if you ask for help," is that depression isn't necessarily temporary. I've been depressed for as long as I can remember. Yes, I truly think I was depressed even when I was a small child.
As for asking for help, let's not go there because I don't want to discourage anyone from asking for help. And by writing those words I've probably just discouraged someone, so I'm going to go ahead and say that asking for help isn't easy and that people who ask for help don't always get it.
I wasn't a big Robin Williams fan when I was young. I never watched Mork and Mindy. I think it was on at the same time as The Waltons, and I was a John-boy fan. Loved the whole family. I didn't want a boatload of kids, but I knew I wanted my family to be close and loving.
So I pretty much ignored Robin Williams. In about 1984 or so, we watched a Robin Williams stand-up comedy show. I'm pretty sure we saw it on videocassette because we didn't have cable TV. It was a miracle we had a VCR.
X thought that Robin Williams impersonating Nadia Comaneci with a high voice and silly accent was hilarious. Robin Williams moved from one character or joke to the next without stopping to catch his breath. I didn't think he was that funny. I wondered what was on the other side of that mania. He had to come down sooner or later.
Then he started making movies. Some of the movies were silly, but some of the movies were lovely. I don't know how many times my kids and I watched Dead Poets Society. I discovered I liked Robin Williams, the actor playing the part of a teacher who inspired his students. I especially liked the quieter moments in the film, when he quoted poetry.
And then along came Good Will Hunting. Robin Williams won the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award, and he deserved it. Every time The Hurricane came home from college on break, she watched Good Will Hunting. I don't think she watched it to see Robin Williams. She watched because of the relationship between the professor and Will, and because of the math. But we didn't have any complaints about Robin Williams. He was great.
I know I've seen him in movies since then, but none of them thrilled me. It's enough for me that he made Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting because those were two heartbreakingly beautiful parts.
It was good knowing you, Robin. I don't know why I'm here, and you aren't. It's not because I'm a stronger person than you are. I'm sorry you're gone.
Infinities of love,