I know it’s been a few weeks, but I am just now taking the time to share thoughts about Robin Williams. It is challenging for me as for anyone, to think of what to say, or how to honor him and at the same time, trying to learn something from this terrible tragedy. Most of all, I want to be able to talk about him and honor him, and not to worry that it will only bring up hurt feelings. I hope to truly connect with the wonderful spirit that he shared with us all, and remember him with a smile or a laugh. So, here’s my attempt to work through some of these divergent feelings.
I don’t know what to say, really. I mean this isn’t that far-fetched for me, I have been tongue-tied before. And, many times I feel stumped, unsure what is the right thing to say, or which counseling strategy is best at this point in time. And yet, I keep going, doing the best I can, knowing that I may come up lacking.
Well, in this case, I really feel stumped. And, a bit of emotional overwhelm. Yet, when talking about grief, I often encourage people with the idea that, “It’s not really what you say, but ‘just being there’ is what really matters.” So, I will show up to this and do the best that I know how.
So, what can we learn?
One thought is the realization that Robin Williams was a real person. He suffered just like all of us, and he was not immune to pain, any more than you or I. It does seem that he should have been above it all for some reason. I mean with the creative genius, giftedness of his humor, silliness, and energy, it just seems that he could have just laughed his way thru anything.
Another thought is, what about his resources? Couldn’t he afford to buy whatever kind of treatment he may need? Or anything that could/should make him happy? Well, we all learned long ago that ‘Money doesn’t buy happiness,’ but I still think we hardly believe it. It just seems that it offers such peace and pleasure to us when we get lucky enough to have a little extra spending money, and we get happier for a while anyway.
And, what about his treatment? This is the part that scares the bejeezus out of me. Like, which therapist was he working with? And, why did he/she not recognize the signs, or take them seriously enough? Well, I don’t want to make this about ‘bashing the therapist’. And, really I just feel for whoever has been on Robin’s treatment team for the recent hospital stay and drug rehab. This is a therapist’s nightmare I think, with thoughts of, ‘What happens if I lose a patient?’ I don’t even want to think about the second-guessing, the guilt, the pain. And, so I won’t, I will just pray for these people.
But the scary part of that also is, “Why is depression so hard to treat?” and “What can we do to extend our knowledge and skills in treating depression?” and “Why can’t we fix this?”
My next move is to try to look for the positive side, allowing the hurt, worry and grief to move through and over me. I now go back to smiling, as I think about the tremendous gift of Robin William’s work. He makes me smile just to think of him, to see him with a red, rubber nose in Patch Adams, or to be wearing, who knows what in Mork and Mindy, and to his amazing ability to just make me laugh, without saying anything even close to intelligible. He was just so ‘off the chain’, so much of the time. I prefer to think of all of this, and keep a smile on my face, and laugh and consider the warm, gentle, generous person, as his daughter asks us to remember. He was truly a great one, and I know we are all blessed to have been able to know just a little bit about him.
The show must go on, and if we can learn something from this tragedy, let us do that and share these thoughts with each other as well as sharing the love and laughter that he represented. Let us remember that it is a gift to share ourself with others, and that when we don’t do this we are just limiting ourself and depriving other people of the gift that is us.
QUOTE: from Marianne Williamson: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
I see this gift from Robin Williams as two sides to the same coin. He shows us intense joy, laughter, and wonderful freedom, and at the same time, he shows us the hurt, despair and loss that is such a real part of our common humanity. He is/was giving us all of what he had to give. Yet, of course, we all want more. And, we are blessed because we can share him with each other, and revel in the joys that he brought the world, by seeing, hearing and enjoying the works that he created.
Thank you Robin Williams. We love you and miss you.
Doing my Best To ……. Live Life on Purpose…