Robin Williams -a stranger’s epitaph

Tonight I learned with the rest of the word that the internationally famous comedienne, Robin Williams, died of an apparent suicide. This news has affected me in a profoundly sad and unexpected way. I feel it in the pit of my stomach, and with a heaviness in my heart and mind.

I never met or did I know Robin Williams personally. But, he has been a fixture in my life since I can remember. I grew up watching Mork and Mindy. I continued to be a fan of his through his numerous films. His last role in the Crazy Ones was one I valued and enjoyed immensely and I was disappointed when the show was cancelled. I have always enjoyed Robin Williams’ work. Always.

I never knew him, yet I feel a connection to him through his many roles and his comedy. One of my favorites was his role in the movie Toys. It wasn’t very popular, but there was a sweet innocence about a Toy maker that never grows up. In the movie Robin Williams’s character’s father is buried with a laughing box, so whenever someone comes near his grave they hear uncontrollable laughter. I wonder if his family will bury him with a similar box.

Robin Williams made so many people laugh, think, ponder and wonder. He had an amazing gift and because of the longevity of his career many people around the world saw his work. We personally didn’t know him, but we felt his presence, his aura, in every film, TV show, and stand up he performed. We knew him through his roles. We knew him without ever meeting him, or touching his sleeve or feeling his breath. He belonged to all of us. And so, I think we will all grieve him.

I will grieve his suicide more than if it were natural causes. Mental illness and addiction are devastating diseases that carve up a person from within until there is little left. I know enough people that have suffered under such umbrellas and it is a continuous battle for mental, and emotional stability. It saddens me to think that Robin Williams lost his fight to mental illness at the age of sixty-three. Hollywood and the world has lost another remarkably talented soul to a disease that is still plagued by misconception.

I will miss this wondrous man that has been a mainstay to me for decades. I will miss a man I did not know, but whose performances have moved me to tears, laughter and introspection.

I lift my glass to you, Robin Williams. May you have the peace in death and the afterlife that you could not find here on earth.

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