On August 11, 2014, the world lost a beloved comedian...to suicide. I have been a lifelong fan of Robin Williams, stemming back to my days as a young boy watching Mork and Mindy. I'm pretty sure I saw "Good Morning, Vietnam!!!" earlier than I was supposed to but given my many years of service, I am looking forward to watching it again soon through a different set of eyes. Most recently, I played "Patch Adams" for my kids which, in my opinion, is one of the best portrayals of the "real" Robin Williams. He had such a real, authentic heart that came out when he spoke and performed for the troops and as Patch, it felt like seeing the "real" him. Earlier this year, we went and saw the 3rd installment of "Night at the Museum"...obviously, filmed prior to August of 2014. Then we have classics like Good Will Hunting, Jack and of course, Mrs. Doubtfire.
As this one year anniversary has approached, news anchors have mentioned his "passing" one year ago but never do they mention suicide. While I don't see it necessary to be graphic on the evening news or pull back the band-aid, my thoughts always to turn to how he died. Autopsy reports after his death showed that he didn't die of an overdose of drugs and alcohol wasn't present in his system. All they found was normal levels of a few prescribed meds. He knowingly hung himself and ended his life. I have my own journey down this dark road and obviously, turned the corner and thought better of alienating my wife and kids forever. I had to keep taking myself out of the equation and thinking of the ripple effect of such a decision. Ultimately, the damage done by giving up far outweighed a decision to give up. Looking back, I am happy for the decision to fight and know it was the right one. I also know what it's like to be there in that dismal swamp. Alone and struggling to find a valid reason to take another breath...that pretty much sums up what those days were like.
Today as I think about Robin, I'm still sad for him and for the family he left behind. I saw an interview of his son yesterday that was recorded 3 months after his death and the pain was evident. Today, family members are fighting over his estate...primarily, the cash contained within. That's just sick but the human way, I suppose. I wish Robin hadn't given up. I wish he found a way out...that someone would've outstretched their hand of friendship in such a way that he would've grabbed a hold and not let go. It is possible, though, that he masked his pain well. I know I did. I can tell you today that it's only by God's grace and never-retreating hand that I am here. There was no close friend or really anyone for that matter that even had a clue. Had I not had Him with His hand beneath me, my story would not be the same. That may, actually, be Robin's story. When we're left to our own resources, the well may very quickly run dry. If you even contemplate Robin's path, go find some help. It's never worth it...but you most certainly are...remember that.
And lastly, this... Spare about 4min to go back to 2007 when he spoke to U.S. troops in Kuwait and got interrupted. Priceless. I just love how he responded. That was the REAL Robin Williams and why he is so sorely missed today.