Robin Williams ended his life. And it reverberates across the world, this collective uproar of loss realized. Images, endless scrolls and screens of Robin Williams’ memories and tributes. His face speaks something other than tragedy. His presence, as long as we had the privilege of it, upheld a priceless gift. It’s hard to reconcile that he would find it within himself to end it all, that someone who has made such a profound impact on humanity just by being funny and real, spontaneous and crazy, that he would take that away, decide it’s not worth another second.
But something in me feels defensive of him and of his legacy, that it not be diminished by his inability to continue. Why is that? He made a bold statement in his dying. On the one hand, he has every right to choose the time, the how. On the other hand, he’s commenting and saying that no matter how much acclaim you earn or how loved you are, if you’re not able to reach it within yourself, that source of love, all the acclaim in the world won’t save you, won’t keep you alive another second longer. He’s saying it’s just that tough. And it’s too precious to bear sometimes. Awareness and the artistry of unusual expressiveness comes with a price. Intensity cuts deep, sees more than any one soul can manage alone and if there’s not one who can share that awareness, the desolation pounds a deafening cry of seeming futility.
When a person takes his life, he is saying the one thing he will do is the one thing he can do…end the agony. Would that we, humanity, possessed much more skill in discerning when to stay with those who are so abandoned all they can do is leave us. Stay and break all the rules of propriety or discourse and insist on piercing the lie that another second of living is one too many.
Russell Brand said it better: “What platitudes then can we fling along with the listless, insufficient wreaths at the stillness that was once so animated and wired, the silence where the laughter was? That fame and accolades are no defence against mental illness and addiction? That we live in a world that has become so negligent of human values that our brightest lights are extinguishing themselves? That we must be more vigilant, more aware, more grateful, more mindful? That we can’t tarnish this tiny slice of awareness that we share on this sphere amidst the infinite blackness with conflict and hate?
That we must reach inward and outward to the light that is inside all of us? That all around us people are suffering behind masks less interesting than the one Robin Williams wore?”
So it is…there are those who remind us we have so much farther to reach and deeper to dig before we have become so alive, soulfully relentless that not one would dare entertain the solution of suicide.