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Sunday, August 17, 2014

When Laughter Fades…

I think a large portion of the population reeled in shock when hearing about Robin Williams this week.

I myself can’t really remember my life before Robin Williams. I think I was around the age of 9 when I first saw him on “Happy Days” and then like most of the country I never missed an episode of “Mork and Mindy”. In 5th grade my best friend Tracy received the EXACT rainbow suspenders (complete with pins) for Christmas. Man, was I jealous.

He just kept getting better….”Good Morning Vietnam” further revealed his amazing improv abilities.

Then in 1989 he made “Dead Poets Society” a movie that let the world know he was so much more.

Dead Poets Society

He was a multi generational actor winning younger fans with “Hook”, “Aladdin”, “Flubber” and “Night At The Museum”.

In 1998 I went with my mother, Nadine, to see “What Dreams May Come”. It was a difficult movie to watch. Afterwards my mom and I went to dinner to discuss the film. During the course of our conversation she mentioned Williams was bi polar. I had no idea and I imagine most of America didn’t either.

My mom worked in the field of mental health for over 30 years. She helped countless individuals lead well rounded lives. She was a champion and truly wanted to change the impression most people had regarding those who have various mental health conditions. The reality is that 98% of individuals living with some form of a mental health diagnosis do not look like this:

For many Americans, because of common misperceptions, Robin Williams death was confusing. Depression? People could only remember laughing hard and often with Williams. He was “Mrs. Doubtfire” after all. A trusted friend- so, so loved. This particular public loss was personal.  

But for all of Robin Williams abilities to make us laugh it was when he made us cry for which he won an Oscar. In watching this performance you are able to glimpse his raw pain.

As moviegoers, did we really know Robin Williams for the amazing human being he was?

He selflessly and free of charge entertained our overseas troops on many USO visits.

He was heavily involved in both the Make A Wish Foundation and St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

But by far the story that tells me who he really was included another famous actor.

In 1973 Christopher Reeve and Williams became roommates at the Julliard School of Drama. Being the only two students who made it into the advanced program they formed an inseparable bond.

It was during this time they made a special pact — whoever ‘made it’ first would always support the other one. Both men, of course, ended up achieving worldwide fame.

Reeve said that after his accident Williams was one of the few “Hollywood” people to stay by his side.

He said it was Robin who insisted he fight to live telling him “You’re still you.”

To me this encompasses everything that Robin Williams was. He was a son, husband, father and friend. Just like the millions of other people who struggle to win the war on depression daily.

Sadly, this amazing man lost his battle.

If any good can come of this horrific tragedy it can perhaps be that Robin Williams will change America’s perception of mental health.


If you need help please call the number above. If you need prayer you are welcome to send me a private message. (Just click on the envelope icon at the top right hand corner of the DTA homepage page and it will link you to my private email.)

Not one more life needs to senselessly end.


“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27

“Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” ~ 1 Peter 5:7

“The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God. When my life was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.” ~ Jonah 2:5-7


GSGreatEscaper said...

That was beautiful, Laura, thank you very much.

Just two weeks ago I happened to catch "Moscow on the Hudson" for the first time. I was blown away by Williams' performance - he learned Russian for the part!

"Of all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest these "It might have been." I wish someone could have helped him as he helped others.

Betty from My Irish Cottage Home said...

I know alot about depression and sucide and it broke my heart to learn about his death. I was and am a big fan of his and would have never thought this would happen. I read stories about him going to rehab and was hoping that it would work for him. I guess learning about Parkinson disease just sent him over to a point of no return. We just really don't know how much a person can take in life. I cried when I read this post and I will cry again. He was a wonderful man and will be miss.

Kiki Nakita said...

Your post left me in tatters. We forget that he was a real person behind the movies. Sometimes it's not until someone's gone that they know how much they were loved.

Jane said...

What a beautiful post, with a profound message for all of us! Thank you, Laura!

Maria (Magia Mia) said...

Beautiful, thoughtful post, Laura.......

Laura Santos said...

Such a beautiful tribute. Thank you for taking the time to post this.

Lisa said...

Thank you Laura for this beautiful post. It is a good reminder that just because people are smiling on the outside they are often times crying on the inside.

White Lace and Promises said...

Laura, I'm so glad I stumbled across your blog while at Chateau Chic. I love this post. I am bipolar. It's sad the masks we hide behind. Robin Williams was my all time favorite actor. In all the roles he played, I was always captivated by his talent. He was a remarkable man. I am so saddened that many in the Christian community chooses to look away from mental illness. I know what this is like. I posted several links and the above being one of them. I have lots of "friends" on facebook who comment on my blog posts and if they agree "like." I was surprised that in all my links, I had very few (3-4 at most) likes and only 1 or 2 comments. Our community, Christian and medical alike, need to be education and realize this is an illness of which many of us struggle with daily. I had a blog called "The Upside of Down," on my journey with Bipolar. I received such negative remarks, even someone using it negatively against me to hurt me that I closed it. One negative comment sent me spiraling downward. Thanks for sharing this. I am so grateful. I have a blog "White Lace and Promise." People like fluff better than real.

DeniseinVA said...

This is a wonderful post, thank you so much.

Gypsy Heart said...

Such a beautiful tribute to an incredibly talented and giving man! It's heartbreaking to think he was in such pain and didn't feel that there was help. He helped thousands with his brilliance, wit and gift of always supporting others. I admired him so much for his tours for the military, for supporting Christopher and Dana Reeve and being a great dad.

I hate that there is still such a stigma about mental illness in this country. People cannot help it if they have chemical imbalances that result in depression and other diagnoses. I wish there could be more emphasis on this and getting help for people. Thanks so much for sharing!


The Boston Lady said...

Laura, Wonderfully said and expresses just how I feel about Robin Williams and about lack of knowledge most people have about mental illness. Mental health issues are as diverse as the people who have them. Each person fights the battle in their own way. We tend to turn away from people who behave in a way we deem, 'not normal', when instead we should turn towards them and listen to their story. Because everyone has one. Ann

Vel Criste said...

I grew up watching Mork and Mindy and when I found out what happened to Robin, it truly hurt me and was so sad.... I feel like the number of times he entertained me and my family and made us laugh, just made him all the more close to us... I never thought he was in so much pain since he was always jolly publicly... I pray for him and his family and hopefully, someone will find some lesson in his tragic death. I will always remember him fondly ....