It came as quite a shock yesterday when one of my kids let me know that Robin Williams had died. Not only that he died, it appears to be a suicide. Perhaps it is because I seem to be able to relate to a lot of his stuff. Perhaps it is because I have, and keep having, to face similar struggles as him. Perhaps it is because I talked to someone the same age in the last few days who also is questioning his very existence. Maybe it is because when I would see Robin Williams, whether on screen or doing standup comedy, he always provided a laugh. Not many in show biz can lay claim to making me laugh on a regular basis. He did.
Maybe I feel a bond because he has obviously used humour to cover up many of his own struggles. I was reminded of a statement I make in my website. It goes like this; “Never short on humour, because after all humour can be a cover up for much deeper issues, . . . . “. Laughter is the best medicine. Laughter provides relief. But always know, laughter also covers sadness. Laughter can be a cover up for so many things. And as one headline said, “Behind the laughter was a harsh reality.”
Aside from Mrs Doubtfire, a movie I have watched more than once, Robin Williams provided entertainment in so many different ways. I will never forget his commentary on golf. In fact listened to it again last night. It has always been and remains absolutely priceless. Just google Robin Williams on golf. Beware of the language. But I suspect all the golfers out there can relate to the language. We hear (use) it every time we golf.
What makes me question so much of what has happened is the circumstances around his demise. He suffered from depression. He has had drug addiction issues in the past. He has been married more than once. He has had affairs. He admitted to being an alcoholic. (Excuse the side bar. The last rehab he checked into was in wine country. He wanted to keep his options open. That is good for a chuckle. Then again you may have had to walk in those steps to get it) Obviously he has been in the public eye. It would seem that money was of no consequence.
So what is it? What pushes people over the edge? A darkness that even his comedic personality could not fix. In the days to come I suspect we will hear more and more of what might have gone wrong. Perhaps we will never know. Perhaps it doesn’t matter. We just know that another person lost their way in the challenges life throws at us. Read a quote recently that went like this. “It is said that the spirit of man can endure only so much and when it is broken only a miracle can mend it.” (John Burroughs) I suspect Robin Williams did not experience that miracle. His struggles are over. He has silenced the demons.
So here is to you Mr. Williams. Thank you for making me laugh, and in that laughter, overcome many of my own challenges. May you have found the peace that eluded you here on earth. May you have found a golf course that works for you. May each stroke (watch the video) feel better than the stroke before. Because at times, quite frankly, it does feel like a stroke. For the rest of us? For God’s sake, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, if life is too much to bear, talk to someone. Anyone. It helps. Make it a good one.