Just because I don’t know Robin Williams doesn’t mean I can’t miss him. Just because I miss him doesn’t mean I don’t feel loss for other people who maybe weren’t so much in the public eye, or that I don’t care about other more worldly events going on the news.
I’m not usually too affected by celebrity news, but I’ve been having a bit of a hard time with this one. My WHOLE life, his movies, tv shows, and comedy has been there, in so many wonderful characters, in so many wonderful ways. From when I first saw him as Mork as a kid, to now. He inspired me, he made me laugh. He touched so many people with the simplest of expressions. He could make you laugh in one moment, and melt your heart in the next. I don’t know another comedian who could do that. He’s just always been there.
The point is that someone, no matter who it was, touched our lives and it’s okay to feel sad about that. It’s a testament to me that peoples’ lives, big or small, affect all of us in some way, even if we never know it. We feel the loss of someone when they have touched us in some way. We feel worse when someone’s story, someone’s life, has reflected something in our own lives.
To me, it’s also a testament to that saying that you should “be kind always, for everyone is fighting a great battle.” That person who was a total jerk? Maybe they’re going through something difficult right now.
Like many people, I struggled with depression when I was in my twenties. Recently, my mom and dad were cleaning their shed and found an old self-portrait I did at the time. It’s not at all flattering. I didn’t want it to be. I wanted to show how worn out, how sick of it all, how emotionally EXHAUSTED I was.
Thank goodness I don’t feel that way anymore, and looking back on it, it’s like looking at a completely different person that I can’t even relate to anymore.
Do you remember The Fisher King? (It’s one of my VERY favorites of all time. To me, every Gilliam movie is amazing, but Gilliam with Robin Williams was magical.) Do you remember how the shock jock’s flippantly insensitive words inadvertently set off a chain of events that damaged the life of William’s character, who he had never even met? People are important. Especially in a world where it’s so easy to type a few errant nasty words on someone’s post, the things you SAY are important, whether you know it or not.
And I think aside from just missing his magic, that might be what has affected me so greatly about his suicide, and the internet reaction to it. It’s just reminded me to do my best to ignore people that build themselves up by making “superior” comments or make a point to spread negativity, and remember how important it is to connect with the people in your life, and to spread the positive around a bit. If you surround yourself by that negativity in people, it eats into you, it brings more negativity to you, draws it in like a magnet. That negativity they focus on pulls you down with it. And as much as you might sympathize with them or want to help them, sometimes you just have to step away a bit.
And this new news about the onset of Parkinson’s…in a weird way that made me understand a little better. I’ve lived with chronic pain for over 10 years, and the idea that you eventually might not be able to do certain things the more something progresses is an absolutely terrifying one. Not one worth my dying over, but I get it. I get that pain.
No, I didn’t know him. And knowing him wouldn’t have changed anything. But I know other people in my own life, and maybe connecting with them will help in some small way.
So it doesn’t matter if he’s a celebrity. He touched peoples’ lives. Don’t feel ashamed for mourning him when so many others need attention, too. Not grieving for one person doesn’t show more appreciation for another.
Instead, appreciate the people in your life. You MEAN something to them. They mean something to YOU. Even if you don’t see it, don’t know it, don’t FEEL it….I promise you, you do.
Sometimes you just have to look a little harder for it.
If you look for bad things, I promise you, YOU WILL ALWAYS FIND THEM. Instead, I try to actively search for things in my life to appreciate. For things to feel good about, no matter how small. And if you cannot find them in your own life, there are so many ways to create them for someone else, and that generosity will create good in your life. And if you’re always looking for those good things, I promise you, you will always find them, too.
So I’m going to do my best to focus on the positive…
National suicide prevention hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Info on Soldier suicide prevention