When the sudden death of Robin Williams became known on Sunday night, slowly at first, you could hear people gasp as they looked at their phones or their televisions or answered a phone call from a friend. Nobody expected this and many, including myself, said out loud “Robin William is DEAD?” As if this was not entirely possible.
For those of us in the baby boomer age range we took it harder than most, Robin Williams was one of our own, he was in our age group, we felt we knew him a tiny bit, having grown up with him and the shows he was on.
We started with Mork and Mindy but that never impressed us as much as future roles because then, we thought he was just acting, remembering lines, doing physical comedy to perfection. Only later did we find out that he was improvising the entire time, words bouncing off him like soccer balls on a field.
Many people have died, many actors and actresses, and later, the same day the beloved Lauren Bacall died but yet she was barely mentioned. “She had a good, long life” people said, almost as if her death was not as important as Robin’s. Robin’s death was a choice, some would say, he committed suicide but I don’t think if he was in his right mind that he would have made that same choice. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part.
Robin was ill, mentally ill and apparently he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease years ago but had suffered with that diagnosis in silence. He was not yet ready to share this new pain with the world. I don’t know what kind of therapists or medications he was on when he died but I am sure he had access to the best doctor’s anywhere. Yet, even they could not help him.
My own father had open heart surgery, a quadruple by-pass operation in the city over twenty years ago and no one at that time told us of that depression would be a likely side effect down the road. He went to one of the best doctors in NYC. While the operation itself “was a success” we had no idea what was happening years after when he sunk into a deep depression. Yes, he did see a professional and he did swallow pills. He wasn’t always depressed, it came and went in spurts but I don’t think he was ever the same.
Deep inside I know he wanted to die but I made him promise me not to ever take his life. He promised. He had physical problems as well and they became more pronounced as he got older and more frail. I knew, through instinct, that he would die in three months time from a variety of reasons. I felt it, I am an “empath intuitive,” I knew from the way my dad showed it to me, the things he said. I confirmed it with a person I trusted.
Let’s try to take care of each other, not only when we seem overtly sad or depressed but also, when we don’t. Look behind the laughter, watch out for each other, be kind always.