Rest in peace, weary traveller.
I’ve given some thought to the premature passing of Robin Williams, and look at it like this; here was a man who’s mind seemed never to shut off, people say the only thing faster than his mouth was his mind, but who else who ever mounted a comedy stage was as quick witted? I don’t think anyone. He was like a be-bop jazz musician, thinking and improvising so fast you can’t even understand it all unless you slow it down and examine every note. but it’s easier with music, there’s only 12 notes, and you don’t have to be funny, it just has to sound good.
It’s as if his brain was set at a higher metabolic rate than anyone else’s. Had his gift been for math rather than comedy, he would have been another Einstein, and so calling him a comic genius is something no one would ever dispute, and people always complain when someone in the arts is called a genius. He lived so fast, intellectually, he packed more life into 63 years than most could ever hope to given 4 times as many years, or more.
It’s astonishingly sad to consider he made it to 63, which is not young, and at that age succumbed to depression. but such an astonishing outpouring of positivity, of humour, selflessness and love, was evidently mirrored within, on the other side, by an equal and opposite force which he repressed so the world, and his friends could not see it. Imagine such an insurmountable wall of darkness, the scale of it must have been unfathomable, considering the effort he put in to keep it at bay. His friends said he was “always on”, always, offstage the same as on, joking ceaselessly, ultimately, like Sisyphus, eternally pushing a giant boulder up an endless hill, after 63 years, he finally ran out of steam.
It’s natural to feel some anger at people who commit suicide, you’re entitled to that feeling, for a while. It’s normal, don’t be ashamed of it. How could they do that to you? They didn’t do it to you, they just couldn’t take it anymore. No amount of adoration, the whole world loved him, no amount of wealth, he certainly wanted for nothing material, not even familial love, can necessarily overcome the power of depression to crush a person’s will to live. Mourn the loss, and continue to live. Remember the positive contributions that were made, and celebrate them. Whether you believe or not in an afterlife, or reincarnation, people live on, in your memory of them, and in what they left behind, so hang on to the good parts of that, and forgive them.
In the case of Robin Williams, he left behind hours and hours of entertainment, which is going to make you laugh and cry again and again, celebrate his legacy and cherish it. Just looking on youtube it seems like there are endless clips and very long concerts, I wonder if I’ll ever see them all. No rush, a little bit now and again to help brighten up life from time to time is a good thing.
If you know someone you think is suffering from depression, reach out however you can. Maybe don’t say “hey you seem depressed, you aren’t planning to kill yourself or anything, are you?” instead maybe just be nice, hang out with them and have a good time. That might be enough, or it might be all you can do. If they’re clearly depressed, maybe you should address it directly. Let them know it’s obvious things are not ok with them, and you want to help, because you love them. Use your judgement.
"You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it."