My story begins a long time ago—the first time I saw him was during a great yelling rendition of “GOOD MORNING VIETNAM!” I watched this movie at my friend’s house, probably age 4-5–Somewhere in that time frame. Over the next few years, Robin Williams would grace the screen in kid-friendly movies such as “Hook” and “Aladdin”, and to this day I can still recite many of the Genie’s words and impressions.
Not only was he my favorite comedian ever, but my love of impressions was birthed from his nutty and lovable persona. Just watch “Mrs. Doubtfire” to see what I’m talking about.
I think a lot of us laughed at Mr. Williams’ antics because we saw a bit of ourselves in him. He was always himself in his comedy acts, a busy mind flooded with ideas and jokes that even he couldn’t contain. His loss affected more people than he will ever know. But I’m not here to sugarcoat this tragedy, I’m here to give the honest truth about loss and what to do for those who feel like there is no way out.
There are stoic people, dramatic people, loud people, shy people, and so many others in the spectrum of this melting pot we call the earth. Out of 7 billion (and growing), most of us will deal with emotion in our lives at one time or another. Emotions are NOT weakness! Don’t listen to other people’s opinions because they haven’t walked in your shoes.
For those to give the opinion that depression isn’t real and to just “be happy”, well it’s more complicated than that. Some people have the voice in their head that it needs to just ‘end now’, and they don’t realize just how many people would miss them if they were gone. Watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” for reference.
We all have our struggles in life. Mr. Williams’ passing affects me so much because my friend did the same thing almost 3 years ago. He had a few problems and was a former combat veteran, but didn’t seek help because he thought it was “weak”. I wish I could go back and be a better friend than I was. The guilt that I wasn’t able to help him ate me alive for weeks after his death. Problem is, guilt makes you miserable, and a couple months later, I realized I couldn’t keep living in a sad cloud.
A conscience decision was made that day not to pick up the pieces, but to just leave them there and move along in life. It’s not being selfish, it’s LIVING. It’s an amazing thing. I will remember the good times, the laughter, the smiles and the friendship. Just with our beloved comedian, I will remember belly aches from laughing hard, cuddling with my friend during the emotional scenes from “Good Will Hunting”, and spilling popcorn all over the movie theatre floor, again from laughing.
Awareness of a friend or loved one’s situation is the first step to recovery. If we hide what we are going through, the thoughts will fester and grow exponentially negative.
Picking up pieces and trying to glue or tape them back together just yields weak walls. If we go forward, and start laying new foundations after a loss or difficult time, it will be that much stronger down the road when we face trials again. We really can be made stronger by everything we survive. That, my friends, is the silver lining in this life.
If you feel like you or a loved one is in a bad way, there is help! In the US, call 1.800.273.8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Knowledge can save lives. You are such an important part of this world. I have to believe that good will always prevail, and everything will come to pass, just as the sun rises and sets each day. Just think, each day we can start over, all the past is forgotten.
And that’s a nice feeling J