"It’s hard to imagine unstoppable energy stopped." - Meryl Streep.
I really need to get this off of my chest before it eats me alive. I know there have been hundreds, thousands, millions (and rightfully so) tributes to this man… but I have to say something. This man. This beautiful man was worth more than a whisper of sadness for and from me. Please, read this if you loved him even in the smallest of ways and his death is not okay with your own soul.
TRIGGER WARNING: May cause emotional and psychological damage due to graphic descriptions. Read cautiously.
I haven’t truly been on Tumblr in the last year or so, other than the occasional post. I had been busy and never seemed to have time to be active on here, unless the time called for it. This is one of those times.
On Monday, August 11th, I was in bed mindlessly rummaging through a BuzzFeed article, with my local news on the television for a background noise. I was half listening, since nothing really happens here in Chicago. It wasn’t until I heard the phrase “BREAKING NEWS” that my ears perked up, since breaking news in Chicago is all bad. No exaggeration. It’s always bad. The reporter was shaken as he tried to read the prompter. Breaking news so fresh that a picture wasn’t even in the topic box.
"I’m sorry to interrupt, but… this just in. We’ve just received breaking news that Chicago native Robin Williams was recently found dead in his home. He was 63."
It was one of those moments where you lean into the television with a furrowed brow, hoping your ears, your eyes, anything, has deceived you. I could feel my heart and my stomach drop as I continued to hear small details come through the screen. His picture was finally up there. It was real. Alan Parrish. John Keating. Peter Pan. Popeye. Patch Adams. The Genie. Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire. Mr. Robin Williams had sadly deceased.
My mother was sitting beside me, whose mouth was agape with disbelief. It was silent, except for the distant sound of the television, telling a story which could only be described as a nightmare. We both looked at each other with watered eyes as we tried to comprehend. It was real. It was happening. And it happened.
I don’t think I can properly describe the shock I felt. I feel a little foolish getting so emotional and serious about someone I had never met, but I think mostly everyone can say they literally grew up with Robin Williams in their living room, on their television. Whether it be from “Mork & Mindy” in the 70s, or “Good Morning, Vietnam” / “Dead Poet’s Society” in the 80s, and it’s a pretty universal fact that he dominated the 90s and the children’s demographic with “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Aladdin.” Not to mention “Jumanji.” And the ever lovely fucking “Flubber.” And then came his acclaim with “Good Will Hunting.” Which was a mediocre movie to me, in which he was the best part in it, sincerely without being biased. Everyone knew and genuinely loved Robin Williams. (If you didn’t… I am sorry. I am truly sorry.) It’s no cliche thing with people say he wasn’t just a celebrity. He was like a member of the family. That crazy drunk uncle who was the coolest adult you knew. It was a warmth, a sense of home, whenever you heard of him. You knew him. His presence was a welcoming comfort.
At least, that was what he was to me. Without getting too personal, I have had a LOT of difficulty with my family life and life in general in the last few months. This was a huge blow to me. It was like someone taking my memories and setting them on fire, never to be seen again, or looked at the same way without a pang in my heart. I couldn’t imagine this beautiful man (who I had a crush on because my uncle would bring me video cassettes with Mork & Mindy taped on them to watch on my TV/VCR combo) who had the brightest sparkle in his blue eyes… gone. This man who’s voice rang so true with nostalgia. As someone who has had bouts with depression and suicidal thoughts… it hurt me beyond belief to see someone as wonderful as him consumed by it. Darkness shouldn’t touch beautiful things.
As more details of his death came about, I became more and more upset. It wasn’t that he died, because if he had just passed away, I probably would’ve taken his death a lot better. It was how he passed away. I think everyone assumed the worst and thought he relapsed. But the worst wasn’t worst enough. Little echos of the word “suicide” rang out and it was tortuous to hear. I’m very, very, VERY sensitive to that word. To that situation. And placing Robin Williams with that horrid reality was haunting. And when it was confirmed, it was like daggers to my heart. The very image of him… hanging. Made me sick to my stomach. The picture I painted in my mind of him being so down and weak that he couldn’t even get off of the floor; that he crawled, or that he slid down the wall with tears in his eyes in a hopeless state of despair. That he reached for a pocket knife in a desperate attempt to gauge his wrists open, and when it proved unsuccessful, he wrestled his belt off to… get out. The image I have of him being so anguished. It breaks my heart to pieces. I want to break down in deep racking sobs just thinking of him.
I know he had a lot of problems. I know he drank. I know he did drugs. I know he was bipolar. But it all seemed so useless to label him as his issues. He was still a human. And what everyone overlooks, he was a sad human. Someone was quoted as saying “The man who made us all laugh couldn’t laugh himself.” And that was so true. I think everyone was so shocked and taken aback because he always seemed so happy and exuberant. But he was so internally upset. So depressed. And I think if you look at any of his pictures, you could see it. His voice was so joyful, but his eyes were so sad. Here was a man who had the career of a lifetime, a beautiful family, fame and fortune, icon status and immortality, and all the love in the world- I mean, he was the quintessential embodiment of what it meant to be beloved. And he was utterly miserable. It speaks many volumes, because he was trying to get better. And he wanted to get better. It was very clear that he still loved to work and wanted to work, and that he lived for his children, but he was so deep into the woods that nothing could’ve pulled him back. How cruel for people to call him “selfish” or a “coward” for doing what he did. It should be said that it’s more shameful, more upsetting, more disturbing, that someone is so heartsick and sad that their only option is to personally leave a life they cannot seem to achieve relief from the pain they feel, than for them to stick around and waste away and be consumed by themselves and their demons. I am not condoning suicide. But I am saying it is not the fault of people who die by their own hands. It’s not that they’re crazy, or addicts, or mentally ill. It’s that they’re in pain. It’s that no one takes the time out acknowledge or to try to help correct the pain that people are in. That’s the most heartbreaking part of this story and of suicide in general. No one knows until it’s too late. And it’s either you’re expertly hiding your sadness, as Robin did, or you show the signs and you’re automatically described as being dramatic or wanting attention. It’s not fair. You are lost whichever way the wind blows.
All I can think about now is what things will be like now without him. The Emmys are in a few weeks. He’s going to be a huge portion of the memorial montage. Then there’s the Grammys next year. Did you know Robin Williams had won five Grammy awards? He was a theater actor, so the Tonys will feature him next year. And of course, the Oscars, where I’m sure he’ll be an entire section, seeing as though he hosted the ceremony in 1986. There won’t be the sequel to Mrs. Doubtfire. His children are without a father (being as though I lost my father last year, I can guarantee you that they will never get past this, not truly) and their future kids will be without a grandfather. And what a wonderful grandfather he would’ve been. We’ll never see a Comedy Central roast about him, or see him personally accept a lifetime achievement award in film. Children born today will probably not know the impact his absence. Life will go on without him, but it will be a lot less happy. A lot less beautiful. A lot less funny.
I urge anyone, anyone and everyone, if you feel the slightest bit of sadness… tell someone. Let it out. There’s so much sadness in everyone that we’re so bashful to share based on our fear of judgement that we’re weak or insane. Everybody hurts. You aren’t alone. Please know this. You need to talk? Inbox me. I swear I’ll talk to you. Or I can just listen if you just want yourself to be heard. Inbox anyone. These are links to places where you can vent to:
Here are links to some hotlines. So many hotlines.
Here is a link for when you’re feeling blue and need a hug.
Here is a Tumblr post of other helpful links for when you’re upset.
Just fucking talk to someone. Please. I am feeling horrible of a man I never knew personally. He will never come back and he clearly didn’t know how loved he was. I cannot help him, even though I desperately wish I could have. He didn’t know someone he never knew existed cared so much about him, just like you probably don’t know someone you never knew existed cares so much about you. I will try to help you. You are not alone. You matter. You matter so damn much.
Robin Williams, where ever you are… I truly hope that you’re at peace. That you hurt no longer. That you can laugh and smile now as much as you made me my whole life. I’ve never had a friend like you. You are missed and you will forever be. I love you, O Captain, my captain. I hope you found what you were looking for. From the bottom of my heart, I hope you did. I hope it was worth to you what losing you was worth to me. You’re free.