I was all set to hop on here last night and jot down a postscript to my baby girl when I learned that Robin Williams was gone. I ended up spending the next couple hours glued to the TV, listening to the details and refusing to believe a word of it.
You hear the news and your first reaction is “No fucking way”. Your next thought is the same thing. And the next one too. It takes a few rounds of being pummeled by the news before your brain catches up with your body and you finally let it sink in that this really happened.
Robin Williams was a beautiful man with talent to the stars and back. Those same stars his own baby girl Zelda spoke of yesterday in the middle of her unimaginable grief when she gifted the world a lovely ode to her father by quoting the French poet Antoine De Saint-Exupery. Zelda ended with “I love you. I miss you. I’ll try to keep looking up, Z.”
You read that and you understand that the best of Robin Williams’ work wasn’t even known to most of us. And that, is saying something.
We had another good twenty years of this guy. Easy. It would have made things just a little bit easier if Father Time had been the one to catch his fall, and it would have given us a million more reasons to stop trying to make sense of the world and to just laugh our asses off instead. And really, can you imagine Robin Williams working the Laugh Factory at 80? Oh, I can.
His demons finally caught him after all the crazy years. And while the coke and the pills and the alcohol were the symptoms we knew about, it was depression that never let him go. The former were symptomatic of the latter’s relentless undertow. You don’t just wake up one morning wanting to end it all. There’s practice in that.
Maybe now, some of the people who insist that depression is “all in your head” can at the very least take a moment to rethink that ridiculous notion. Maybe they can stop telling all of us who deal with depression that we just need to buck up, deal with it and move on. Maybe they can take this tragic occasion to do a little homework on the topic of depression. Maybe it finally occurs to them that if a timeless icon with a beautiful family to live for cannot find his way out of the dark . . . maybe there’s more to it than greeting card proselytizing can fix.
I imagine this sweet prince of a man is letting God try his hand at this comedy thing right about now. And I imagine God is starting his routine with “Two Jews walk into a bar . . .” And I imagine Robin Williams is loving every minute of it, since he called that shot.
I imagine heaven is where Robin Williams can finally smile. And mean it.