|Credit: Eva Rinaldi
A good friend of mine posted a very apropos quote when the news broke about Robin Williams’ passing:
“A clown needn’t be the same out of the ring as he has to be when he’s in it. If you look at photographs of clowns when they’re just being ordinary men, they’ve got quite sad faces.” –Enid Blyton, Five Go Off in a Caravan
I think that sums up exactly why this death is such a shock. My favourite Robin Williams movies were always the funny (or at least, light-hearted) ones—Hook, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, etc. While I was never a huge fan of his stand-up, I know so many people who just loved his manic onstage energy and I can see why.
He was funny, and he made so, so many people happy. There is something incredibly sad about a comedy icon fighting such severe depression that he felt suicide was his only way to find peace. How could someone who so easily brightened everyone’s lives be feeling so much darkness himself?
We can only hope he finally found his peace. His memory and his movies will always be with us.
LEE A FARRUGA
I had just spent an enjoyable evening with my girls and husband watching mindless television. I decided to check my computer for emails and updates. What I found was the news about Robin Williams – and I cried – a lot.
I grew up with his comedy and his quick wit. He made me laugh so very much. Mork and Mindy was one of my absolute favorite shows growing up. I was 13 years old. It had a huge impact on me. I have always stuck to his comedic roles likes Mrs. Doubtfire and The Birdcage. I have never been able to watch any of his serious work. Why? Because I knew he battled demons that I didn't want to see in his serious face.
Because I see it every time my husband has a dark day due to the same demon or my youngest has a down time because she's inherited her dad's depression. I know the constant fight that's involved. I know Robin Williams fought the good fight for all his 63 years. I cried because he lost the fight. Depression won.
I don't generally swear but... Fuck Depression!
When I was a teenager, It was watching Live on Broadway for the 23rd time in my buddy’s basement. We threatened to hold an intervention to get him to watch something else, but never did.
When I was in school it was watching Awakenings to discuss ethics, What Dreams May Come in philosophy class and Flubber on the field trip coach bus.
As an adult, it was listening to him discuss his humanity, flaws and struggles on various podcasts and talk shows, then watching my young nieces and nephew discover the magic of his movies for the first time.
Unlike most artists that I have mourned, Robin Williams didn’t represent a singular phase of my life. His talent and brilliance were a constant. The idea that he is gone is difficult to process and it just doesn’t seem fair.
This one hurts.
Beyond the fact that it’s Robin Williams that passed – like, THE Robin Williams who has made us piss our pants laughing for the past 40 odd years – I cannot get over the fact that we lost another soul to depression.
As much as we didn’t know him personally, we knew his work. For children of the ‘90’s and beyond, he is Mrs. Doubtfire, Alan Parrish, Peter Banning and the Genie. Mork, Adrian Cronauer, Patch, Sean Maguire to fans of his generation and his plethora of critically acclaimed awards. When an artist encompasses so much of our pop culture spectrum, we feel the loss. The world is crying right now. I know this because my social media feeds have exploded with tributes from fans and personal friends of the actor.
What I noticed immediately is that all the posts I’ve read are filled with reminders that we should never take depression for granted. And I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been there. I know that pain and have come back from the brink; and now the whole world is reminded on such a deeply personal level that the pain of depression is so powerful and encompassing. Williams probably knew what he had as a husband and a loving father, whose last post to Instagram was a photo of himself and his daughter as a child. But when you’re in that much pain, it all flies out the window, and internal lies of depression takes over.
It’s so real for so many of us, and yet it takes the death of an international superstar for us to have this conversation.
Let us hope that this heartbreak will lead to more who suffer from mental illness and depression to seek help and for the discussion of suicide to break free of its taboo so that we don’t have to lose another beautiful spirit. After all, the next spirit the world loses won’t be famous, but someone will have loved it as much as the world loved Robin Williams; and the cycle of heartbreak will repeat