We didn’t. We think we did, we believe we did, we couldn’t think of Robin Williams without smiling, without laughing. Words like “Genie” and “Doubtfire” immediately come to mind. Movies like Good Will Hunting and Patch Adams that made us laugh and cry. Robin Williams stayed with you, but he was that close wonderful friend we didn’t actually have.
I’m sad, and I’m angry, and I’m selfish. When I heard that he’d passed away I was numb, and when I’d learned that he’s likely committed suicide I was and probably still am in denial. Robin Williams wouldn’t do that to us. But that’s selfish, that’s his legacy talking, that’s the characters that he represented and the emotions that he made us feel creating a false person we never even met, but feel like he’s family.
In the end, my heart aches for Robin. He was a much better friend to us than we were to him. He had demons that he couldn’t conquer and I’m heartbroken at the total immersion breaker that this is. He was one of those people who made us believe in magic, and genie’s and love and faith and wonder, and at the end of the day the raw ugly reality was that his demons got the best of him.
His most recent CBS show, The Crazy Ones, about a marketing exec in New York City hit very close to home. The song and dance of marketing and advertising, his manic creative nature, I’m probably one of the short lived shows biggest fans. You just know now that he was struggling, even while making us laugh, and cry, and spit chocolate milk out our noses.
Someone like Robin Williams dying, let alone via suicide, is one of those loops of grief where I keep bouncing back between disbelief and an overwhelming feeling of unfairness. He was a legend, he made so many people happy, he gave so much to the world, and it breaks my heart to think of what his life must have been like.
My wife wrote on her blog about the stigma, and that is what I hope can come of all this. So many tragedies in the last few years, school shootings and violence, stemming from a generation unable to talk about mental illness, about those of us with special needs. I hope that Robin Williams’ legacy is a tool in ending that stigma.
As someone with ADHD, I struggle with the side effects of medications, of the emotional fallout each day as my stimulant meds wear off and I’m left drained and irritable. Robin didn’t like to take his meds sometimes, and I’m the same way. Sometimes I feel I am at my best when I am at my most flawed, or rather that “normal behavior” has forced me to accept this label as being flawed vs. just being different. I wear my ADHD like a badge of courage, I’ve owned it, because the alternative is just too depressing. Robin owned his demons too, but clearly they got the best of him in the end.
To Robin – We ain’t never had a friend like you. Thank you for everything.