When we hear that someone dies, someone we don't know, we still get sad. We feel for their family and friends. When a celebrity dies we may feel that they had some small impact on our lives, we may even miss that impact in the future. We are still sad and feel for their friends and family. Yesterday, when we all learned about the death of Robin Williams many of the people I know felt something greater than the passing sadness for someone we will never know. We felt a profound loss, a gut punch. Not only that he was gone but that he was gone by his own doing.
Someone who brought us laughter for much if not all of our lives was fighting such depression that he felt he could fight no more. My personal go to funny guy when I needed a funny guy did all of that all while hiding his true feelings. I am sure others could see the sadness in his eyes at times, we all knew about his struggles with substance abuse in the past but we are talking about a magical genie here! If anyone could "get over it" he could, right?
I think what had many of us in disbelief was the name that popped into our heads after everything sunk it. I can't be alone in saying that after I caught my breath from the initial shock I thought, "wow that could have been _____". The person in our lives who may do their best to be the life of the party, who may just ooze love and warmth, and the person who always seems to have that twinge of sadness in their eye. This could have easily been them.
Many of us know people who are struggling. We don't quite know what to say to them - we are afraid to trigger something or even to just sound stupid. We worry but not think there is anything we can really do - beside, they always seem happy...
This was a 63 year old man, a husband and a father. A genie, an alien, a teacher, a cross dresser...this was Peter Pan, Peter fucking Pan! And now he's gone. If all of these people who brought laughter and hope into our lives could do this that anyone could.
I think that is why it hits so close to home. If you're like me and a name or two popped into your head when you heard the news and you haven't already done so, pick up the phone. Just to say "hi, I care" it could make all the difference.
And as you go about your life remember these important words:
Thanks you R.W. your work helped shape me into the person I am today.