No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.
Robin Williams


The world now seems deeply less funny with the recent tragic death of Robin Williams.

Firstly, as you probably know, I am not one to ogle and fane over the likes of Hollywood. I do not care for the rag tag magazines which so love to follow the infamous lives of those members of tinseltown, or the music industry, around like hungry dogs, nor do I care to watch such television programs, which provide the windows of voyeurism into the often twisted lives of those in the field of entertainment, as there is just too much in this world which needs doing besides “following” those society pathetically deems “famous” or infamous, the distinction is yours to decide. . .

Secondly, I do not care for comedians, particular standup comedians as their base of humor, to me, is simply not funny.
I am not a fan of the supposed humor which is steeped in raunchy and vile language–I don’t need to hear the “F” word over and over again as a form of humor. I do not enjoy watching these onstage individuals vie for the laughter of others as he or she proceeds to make sarcastic fun of everyone and everything. . .And as tragic and as sad as life seems to be today, it appears as if there is nothing which remains sacred or reserved, or hands off to these comic individuals–which I find to be the terrible making of our lives into that which is “less than.”

To me, none of that is humor.
The use of the vile and crude, while taking cheap shots at the lives of others, to me again is a poor excuse for funny.

I did however enjoy Robin Williams as he could make me laugh until I cried.

And yes, I am aware he had his crude, crass and vile takes on comedy– and no, I did not care to watch those particular standup moments of his—but I did, however, watch what he did so well— and that was to bring smiles to the faces of the young and old as only Robin Williams could do. He knew he could forego the crass, the vile and the cheap and still bring smiles to the faces of those who desperately needed to smile–and perhaps it was his own depth of inner turmoil which was his impetus to that intuition.

Watching him interact with children was a joy. He could immediately forget being the “grown up” and engage with a child on their own tiny level making that child feel magically important and special. The work he did for St Jude’s Children Hospital was tremendously heartwarming as he would light up the eyes of a child who’s face was ashen and deathly pale, who’s hair had long since fallen out and who’s sunken eyes gave the perception of immanent death–yet Robin Williams would work his magic and suddenly there was a twinkle in that sunken eye as life suddenly reappeared, where just moments before, there was none.

His concern for our military, especially those soldiers who came home broken of both body and spirit was tireless. He recognized the sacrifices made for our freedom as he paid homage to such. He respected the men and woman who, suddenly missing limbs, sight and mind, felt as if there was now nothing remaining worthy of respect–Robin Williams worked selflessly to remind them that many do care and that these broken individuals do matter and that their respect remains intact even if their bodies do not.

Movies such as Hook in which Robin played the grown up, stressed out, workaholic and jaded Peter Banning reminded all of us of the importance of maintaing the one on one relationships with our children—of touching base, finding and embracing our deeply buried imaginations and of seeking the hidden places where our own sense of fun and joy still remained.

Yet it was probably his role as Mrs. Doubtfire, the doughty British widow alter ego of a divorced dad, down on his luck, who simply wanted to be with his kids which brought me great delight, laughter and touching joy.

Yes Robin Williams could make us laugh, but he could also make us think. He could disturb us and he could remind us of the importance of life and of what in life was truly important.

However it is now in the wake of his tragically sad suicide that I find myself troubled. I worry that Robin’s choice to end his own life may be seen by those who suffer addictions and battle the life altering heaviness of depression as a sign that sadly things do not get better, that it is all just hopeless and the only way out is death.

Those individuals must know that that is not the case at all.
Hope always remains, as long as we breathe, there is Hope.
But I know how shallow that can sound to one in the midst of the misery.
I know.

I have written on the topic of suicide and the effects it wrecks on a family back in March of 2013 when I addressed the issue of my own brother’s suicide in the post Forgiveness, one step at a time
I don’t wish to rehash a previous post but I do think it important to note that the finality of suicide is a sadly permanent and non retraceable choice which has sweeping and lasting repercussions to those we are left to pick up the pieces. But I get it, I understand that the depressed are not concerned with any of that as they merely want the torment and the suffering to stop.

I also know what it is like to live with years of bitterness over what seemed to me to be a selfish choice as I watched my father spend a lifetime of invisible regret and endless sorrow.

I do not want the life Robin Williams lived, of the joys he brought to others, the gifts he delivered when playing a particular role, the relationships he had with family and friends to be overshadowed by the finality of a single sad choice.

I do not want those who suffer the insidious heavy veil of depression to feel as if all is for naught for if someone like Robin Williams, who was actually proactive with the disease and treatment of mental illness, could not get out from under the crushing weight, then who can. . .his choice must not be seen as the only choice available for those who suffer and hurt.

It is my hope that in the wake of this latest loss and sadness that dialogue may begin as we all look to ways and means to help and support those who suffer mental anguish and addiction. It is our responsibility, as the extended family of humanity, to offer hope to the hopeless, joy to the joyless, freedom to the imprisoned—not to sit by and watch others feel forgotten and alone.

As I stated earlier, there is much in life to be done besides sitting around reading and watching rag tag magazines and shows, rather we all have a responsibility to reach out to all of those around us who are hurting and who suffer the debilitating struggles of mental illness which cause the brokeness of spirit and soul. Yes it is easier to treat the obvious exterior brokeness of bone and body, but it is the internal brokeness of spirit and soul which remains so frustratingly hidden, that we must address head on as real and yet capable indeed of help and of healing.

May we work to heal broken spirits just as hard as we work to heal broken bodies. . .

He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.

Psalm 147:3


10 comments on “Heeeellllloooo

  1. We will all miss Robin Williams…..

  2. Lynda says:

    Julie, this is an inspiring post that pays tribute to a wonderful person. May God help each of us to be present to others in such a way that each person will know their incredible worth. May you feel God’s peace in your heart today as this tragedy brings forth memories of your own sadness. Blessings and prayers.

  3. lljostes says:

    Thank you for this poignant and candid discussion, Julie. I’ve posted it on my Facebook page. I hope others will read and be encouraged! blessings ~ Laura

    • Thank you Laura—it’s just may little take and observation on a family’s sadness that seems to have effected much of this country—-
      hugs to you—Julie

      • lljostes says:

        My extended family has had its share of the same type of grief and sadness over the years. It’s a different kind of grief, but God understands and comforts. Hugs to you too ~ Laura

  4. ptero9 says:

    Great post Julie!

    The problem with “getting better,” for any of us who might put themselves in that category, is there no way to measure it as an outcome. Many people who suffer tremendously at some point in their life and find life-changing healing become invisible to statistics and the culture. Healing is a hard sell these days.

    Even in their death, which is no longer tragic, the many who do experience traumatic healing will not be recognized for whatever it is, which is frequently ineffable anyway, that changed the course of their life.

    As a culture, we are far less inclined to ask those who succeed where others fail, what is their story, what changed and how or why. This applies to lots of human struggles, from addiction to mental illness to relationship issues.

    I don’t think it does anyone any good to put all suicides into a category called mentally ill and promote it as a commodity. It rarely helps anyone who is suffering to even use that term and risks marking someone for life with the impression that they are defenseless against their struggles.

    Thanks for writing about Robin from this very different angle.


    • A great addition Debra–of course I only speak from the mental illness component as my brother was indeed mentally Ill suffering from paranoid schizophrenia , but you’re right, be it addiction to heredity to any number of certain life circumstance-it is a malady we must approach with compassion and hopefulness
      Hugs– Julie

      • ptero9 says:

        I think we would gain a lot to pay more attention to those who have suffered and somehow found healing, but we’re culturally very stuck in a materialist way of understanding ourselves.

        Robin Williams is a perfect example of someone who, in spite of having it all, could not be helped. All the rally cries for a better mental health “system” and more funding crumble in view of his tragic end. If there ever were someone who had access to help, it was Robin. Maybe, sometimes, nothing can be done and people decide to end it all because they they’re tired of the struggle.

        Yes, I have been touched by suicide in my family too, and struggled deeply with it myself. Honestly, for myself anyway, no one could have helped me. It took resolution and a lot of pain to exorcise the demons that plagued me. I am grateful for the healing I have received, which was not a removal of the struggle, but a complete shift in my understanding of myself and the world. No amount of money, or drug could have facilitated the transformation.

        Anyway, thank you for listening and for your inspiring post.

      • Oh you’re so right- as mine was also a major mental shift in my way of thinking and even in my faith– of which I am thankful as well as greatful 🙂

  5. Cookie, this is excellent! We are so alike about so many things and so much of what you wrote here resonated with me. I don’t want his death to be a catalyst that leads others in making the choice to commit suicide either. I know he was deeply troubled, but I wish that some one could have reached in his darkness and offered light and a ray of hope. I had a friend in college who committed suicide. It was a tragic loss for his family and all those who knew him as it always is. Thank you for this very insightful post. I wish that there was a way to post this on the internet so others could read it. Love and hugs, Natalie 🙂

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