"I will never forget where I was when I heard the news‘«™" How many times have you heard, or said those words with no real deep meaning? I have said them many times as part of a sarcastic comment. I never thought the day would come when I actually meant it. But sadly this time that overused phrase comes from the bottom of my heart.
I was driving on Ventura Blvd. in Tarzana. Neal and I were talking and half listening to the radio, when we heard Robin Williams had died, apparently by suicide. I was in shock. At the time there were few details; we were both silent for a few seconds which seemed like a couple of hours.
We were on our way to a meeting I had with a friend who is trying to break into comedy. I blamed my racing heart to the fact that we were running late, but I knew better. My tachycardia and shortness of breath were due to the shocking news I had just heard.
For the next hour or so, I let my mind concentrate on the meeting, but as soon as my husband and I got back in the car a wave of anger came over me. Why Robin, WHY? What a waste of talent! Not only were you one of the most gifted performers of all time, but you had the privilege of using that talent and sharing it with the world! Why would you throw it away? Why would you do this to your family, particularly those children we all know you adored?
I was angry I never got to meet you; I never got to shake your hand and thank you for making me laugh with your comedy and cry with your dramatic performances.
So many people would give anything for half your talent and opportunities‘«™and you chose to throw it all down the drain. I was inexplicably angry.
Then the anger gave way to a deep sadness. An overwhelming feeling of loss and impotence; a familiar feeling - the same feeling I had when one of my beloved nephews committed suicide many years ago. He was only 17. I was in my mid-20's and somehow managed to blame myself for not being "there" for him, for not being able to prevent this tragedy. I was angry with my nephew for not coming to me, for not letting me help him!
That was the last time I cried for someone who had taken his own life, until that dreadful Monday night, alone in my home office, reading about Robin Williams. I was not angry anymore, just immensely sad. How deep his pain must have been, how dark his world must have seemed, how utterly hopeless everything must have looked, to make him take such a final, tragic decision.
I have been in that dark place. I too have been so hopeless and sad that dyeing seemed like the best option. It was back in 1995, when I had a miscarriage. My brother had passed away recently and the thought of hurting my mother was the only thing that kept me from doing the unthinkable deed! I decided to give myself one more day to think about it and thank God I changed my mind! I would have regretted my actions as soon as I crossed over, and it would have been too late!
Even with my own experience, I cannot even begin to imagine what goes through someone's mind when they decide to end their life. I only wished he had given himself one more day to think about the finality of such decision‘«™.maybe he would have changed his mind. We will never know.
Any time you lose a loved one is a tragic situation. But when that loved one has taken his own life, the pain is almost unbearable. The feelings of guilt, anger and sadness are like a wave that goes inside your body and threatens to rip your soul. I hope his family will be left alone and given the time to mourn their incredible loss in private.
I hope the speculations will stop and people will choose to remember the kindness in his eyes, a reflection of his generous soul. Remember the gift of laughter he gave us and pray he will find the forgiveness, peace, love and healing that only God can give.
And if you ever find yourself in the darkness of desperation, please, just give yourself one more day.
The suicide prevention hotline is: 800-273-8255. There is no shame in asking for help when you need it.
Good night Robin‘«™thank you for sharing your gift.
Edie J. Adler:
Edie J is an actress, author, and advocate for people suffering from Alzheimer's. She's a regular contributor to Latino.LA She and husband Neal live with their 6 dogs, 4 cats, 3 birds, and 1 turtle. Author's website Email the author