I was in my car when I read the news about Robin Williams passing away, which is appropriate since his words kept me company during so many hours spent in the car commuting to school and work. I automatically did what I always do and posted about it. But I think I was in shock. I don’t usually get affected by the death of celebrities. I mourn the loss of a human being, and great talent, sure, but never does it hit so close. Never do I get stunned, with a heavy feeling in my heart.
Today, I did. I am. I barely made it back home without crying.
While he’s known for his comedy and sharing his light with the world, I think of Robin Williams as John Keating from Dead Poets Society. He’s Patch Adams. He’s Chris Nielsen. He’s Adrian Cronauer. He didn’t just make me laugh. His words, whether through his characters or his own heart, inspired me to find my passion. Robin Williams had a huge, remarkable impact on who I am – from Mork to Simon Roberts.
I know that he’d been battling depression for years. I know that it’s possible that he took his own life. It’s a cruel reality that those who make our world brighter with their humor are often fighting their own dark demons behind the scenes. The pain of depression is real – the battles are real, and while it’s instinct to just say “Talk to someone,” it’s never that easy. When you’re drowning in your own pain, unable to see anything but darkness, reaching out can be the hardest thing to do.
So, if you’re fighting right now and you feel alone, reach out. Reach out to me, reach out to someone you love, reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK.
If you need the reminder that you’re not alone, this is it. You aren’t. Depression is a cruel liar. You are not alone. We all have our battles that we fight every day.
We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?
Rest in Peace, Robin. Thank you for sharing your light and love with the world. We won’t forget you.