Wednesday, 27 August 2014

An alien, a woman and a genie

So there I was rushing around the house like a bargain hunter at a Primark closing down sale, when Mark’s three little words stopped me dead in my tracks.
“Robin William’s dead.”
I stopped stuffing spare clothes into Tommy’s essential items bag, and gasped.
“Robin Williams, the funny one? How?”
I gasped even louder and nearly dropped the essential items bag.
But he was a comedian, he was always making people laugh, he was always happy, wasn’t he?
Well apparently not.
I looked at Tommy, who was making frustrated noises at his milk bottle, which was standing next to his lunch box, which was waiting to be packed inside the car, and wondered about Robin’s children. How the heck do you tell kids something like that? I remembered seeing a picture of his children in the newspaper once, they were older than Tommy, and old enough to understand what suicide meant and the pain that accompanied it.
I confess, in the past, to a low tolerance towards the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Loosing a loved one is hard enough, but to know they chose to leave you and leave all the mess behind they’d created, I found that hard to swallow.
Despite the fact I had never met the man, Mr Williams cause of death contradicted my previous views on suicide. Because he'd always come across as so sweet and charming, and very, very funny. I couldn’t find it in me to despair of his last act on earth and mention the word selfish. He was obviously very, very unhappy.
Mental illness is, luckily, not something I am familiar with. Severe depression has, luckily, escaped me. Sure I've been down, but there has never been a time where I've thought the only answer is to end it all.
I couldn't remove the morning's disturbing news from my head, as I spent the remainder of the time in my house preparing for my day ahead.
It unnerved me that someone as popular, as loved, as talented, and let's face it very, very, rich as he could be so desperately depressed that they could think that's it, I have to kill myself.
Mark and I finished dressing Tommy and packing the car in silence. Somehow we'd lost our sense of urgency. For did it really matter if we were a few minutes late and I missed my usual train? There'd be another one soon enough.
But there wouldn't be another Robin Williams.
Once all three of us were safely seat belted, Mark switched on the radio. It was flooded with news and tributes to the comedian/actor. I checked Facebook and Twitter on my mobile, as expected the world was in shock and mourning.
Apparently he had many demons, alcohol and drugs and severe depression all took their toll. "Perhaps other people will be encouraged to talk about their depression and seek help before it's too late," was a much quoted sentence on August 11th 2014.
Let's hope so.
Mark drove me to the train station where I hugged Tommy goodbye, a little tighter than usual. I kissed Mark goodbye, a little fiercer than usual. I was thankful for our simple life, our cheery, uncomplicated life and attitudes.
I bought my train ticket and boarded my train and still I couldn't stop thinking about Robin Williams. Over the years he had embraced my television screen. I recalled laughing out loud at his portrayal of an alien living on earth, his extremely funny adaptation of a woman pretending to be a man, and his genius comedy act where he was a genie for a little boy.
He could do all those marvellous things, but he just couldn't be happy.
Sad, isn't it.
I hope he's at peace now.


Amel said...

Yes, it is sad indeed. I once watched a TED talk video on youtube on the topic of suicide/depression and it really opened my eyes. I can't really fathom it, either, because I haven't really experienced that kind of depression, but every time I hear something like this, it makes me want to learn a little bit more. I don't know if you know, but a few years back a blogger killed herself on Christmas Eve. It was such a shock to me. I didn't know her all that well, but it was still so shocking to me. Anyway, I understand what you mean about being thankful for your simple life.

Maria said...

I've heard it said that suicide is selfish. But, I think that when someone has those black dogs following them around all the time, it is not selfish at all to just want some peace.

The World According To Me said...

Hi Amel
No I didn't hear about the blogger. That's terrible, so did you used to comment on each other's blogs? Did you have an idea she was depressed? I can imagine it was a massive shock.

The World According To Me said...

Hi Maria
Yes I agree, sometimes you just want and need peace.

Amel said...

I only started getting to know her and I think we did exchange some comments before the incident. I found out about it through a mutual blogger friend, Cliff. He knew her much better than I did, so it was more of a shock for him. But to answer your question, no, I didn't know she was depressed. All I knew was how artistic she was (she put lots of very artistic photos in her blog) and I was drawn to her photos.