Sadder than I thought I would be at the sudden passing of the comedic legend. By nature, I'm not an overly emotional person so why am I so sad at this stranger's passing? I certainly didn't know him. Sure, I enjoyed his movies, seemingly limitless energy and off the cuff comedy but I never met the man in my entire life.
And yet I'm really sad.
I think part of me is sad because he brought generations of people so much joy but you could see the underlying sadness within him. He covered it well with his high energy, loud antics, spot on impersonations and amazing humour. But it was there. He suffered in relative silence and tried to cover the hurt with humour, alcohol and even drugs. But the pain of depression wouldn't be dulled.
The fact that he committed suicide makes it feel like an even deeper loss. Not because, as some people would say, that it was a waste or somehow wrong of him to take his own life. As someone who has had suicide touch her family I remember struggling to understand why someone would do this. I firmly believe that suicide is not a decision that a person takes lightly. Nor does it stem from selfishness. Instead, it is the very sad realization for Robin (and others suffering similarly) that they can see no other option to stop their intense pain except to end their own life. And that's what hurts the most.
Their desperation to feel peace.
So I'll be sad for a bit for Robin and his family. And then I'll pop in Mrs Doubtfire, Aladdin or even Dead Poet's Society and remember a gifted comedian and actor who made the world laugh. I hope that we will not remember him for how he left this world but for the humour, generosity and humanity that he gave and portrayed for the years he was with us. I also hope that we remember that people are battling depression on a daily basis and that we help them to find the support they need in order to find the peace they so desperately crave and deserve.
Good-bye Mork and Patch Adams. Good-bye John Keating and Mrs Doubtfire.
Genie ... you're free!