I never expect the death of someone famous. When it happens its almost surreal. Unbelievable.
… Robin Williams, dead at age 63, due to suicide …
WHAT? How. Why? Did I hear that right? The kids ask me what’s wrong? Who’s Robin Williams Mom? And the list begins. Our beloved Genie in Aladdin. Mrs. Doubtfire. Happy Feet and countless other movies that my kids have not yet seen. We talk and talk. About a man who made us laugh even when we couldn’t laugh. A man whose voice we loved to hear. A voice with so much talent and laughter. Silenced.
I didn’t tell them. How I deeply understand what compelled this amazing person to take his own life. To end the pain he endured. How at the end of his life, his ability to make others laugh, wasn’t enough to keep him laughing.
The world speaks. I keep silent. Because the noise is maddening. Anger. Grief. Disbelief. Shame. Man opens his mouth and shows the ugliness of his heart. I weep. Because people just don’t understand.
Depression. A disease that robs you of your humanity and apparently, those around you. A voice hard to silence, but too silent for others to hear. A pit so dark there is no light shining down into its depths.
I know the pain. I know the feel of agonizing flames that engulf a soul, sucking out the air, until the only hope you see is out. Out of this life. Of not being enough. Of not doing it right. Of not being who they think you are. Of looking into a mirror and not seeing who you are … only seeing who you are not.
I know the way it feels to fight. Everyday. For a moment of peace from the voices that will rob you of all your joy. When all you see is darkness, it’s hard to see anything else.
In the midst of the chaos and aftermath I find hope. Hope spoken by those who DO get it. Those who understand that sometimes religious answers are just not enough to erase the pain. That life is messy and darkness can flood a soul. Those who understand that sometimes this cancer wins.
It’s mercy. Mercy has kept me walking on this earth. Kept me fighting to stay alive. Embracing the messiness of who I am. Always realizing that I’m one step away from not being alive.
I feared this thing for too long. I feared that it defined who I am and who I would be. I feared that others wouldn’t understand and stayed away. I feared that my Father, the one who loves me, didn’t know what He was doing when He created my spirit. Until one day, I quit fearing.
And, I weep, because Robin couldn’t find rest. From a voice that told him he was not enough. Until the only hope he had was to silence his own voice. It breaks my heart.
Robin’s life and death reminds me that I must laugh. Laugh. Despite the darkness that taunts me. Love. Because love is the only thing that conquers death. Live. Because you cannot improve on life.
I pray for those who are lost in the darkness. I pray for those who stand outside, their lights hidden and afraid. I pray that we quit pretending that we have all the answers and we’ve got this handled. I pray that we begin to speak out about the dark and quit letting it hide where it can grow. I pray that we’re all brave enough to look inside and see the dark inside of us. To realize, that we’re all just one step away from not being ok. To give love and mercy and grace to those who silently fight alone.
And to look back on Robin’s life and not his death. To realize that he died because he couldn’t win against an enemy bigger than himself. To quit the judgment, shaming and blame. To look at his life and remember, he made us laugh.
Rest in peace Robin. You are free.