The news of Robin Williams showed up on my phone just as I was leaving a meeting with a friend. It felt like a punch in the gut, as I'm sure it hit most everyone the same way. How could this man, so full of life, leave just like that? How could he not know how much we all loved him? How could he not know the blessing that he was to our lives?
When the final report on how Robin Williams died came in, my heart broke. I began to sob and I knew that this was touching my own story in more ways than one. It was, once again, time for me to grieve my own loss.
I lost my first true love to suicide.
Will and I were married when I was very young. We had our two boys, one of whom this blog refers to all the time- Will's namesake, Liam. Our marriage lasted for almost ten years before, sadly, ending in divorce.
Will was not unlike Robin Williams. He was passionate, larger-than-life, hilarious, warm, caring, crazy, silly, talented. His highs were wild and it was all I could do to keep up. But, his lows were low and there was a tragic theme of self sabotage and destruction always lurking around the corner. He could flip on a dime-keeping all of those around him guessing as to which person they would get.
His talent was undeniable- an artist's artist. Musicians still talk about his record, his guitar playing, and the way that his music made them feel. He made you love music. I mean, really love music. He would make you sit down in a chair and listen to whatever it was he was working on. You would grin ear to ear because he would "air" play every single part of the song as if he had a thousand people in front of him. He would so lose himself in the moment that he didn't care how he looked. He wanted to convey THE SONG. That was all that mattered in that moment.
He could tell the best stories. His imitations of people were so spot on that you would be crying with laughter on the floor. He was so animated while he was talking that you couldn't help be enamored with whatever story he was telling!
My sisters and I would laugh at him because anytime he would come in to the house it was like a windblown whirlwind. He was like Kramer on Seinfeld! He couldn't just walk quietly in the house- he and his presence would come in and overtake the room.
And then, one day, just like that. He was gone. He took his own life. And, even as I type this, I still cannot believe it. How can someone so full of vitality be gone?
Yes, there were the signs- depression, anxiety, but I never pictured life and the world without Will in it. It just wasn't an option in my mind. He was too big-it would never be something he chose. Never.
But...it did. And in one act, his seemingly endless light was extinguished. Such a profoundly dark ending to a life so full of light.
It is no wonder that I have been deeply affected by the events of this week. The accounts of Robin are so similar to Will's. But, I hope that writing about it will move me towards the necessary pain of grief and loss. As a mentor once said, if you try to get over pain, you end up underneath it.
And so the onion gets pulled back another layer. Another step towards the pain of grief.
I miss you, Robin.
I miss you, Will.
The world will never be the same without you.