Above photo credit, taken from Robin Williams’s Facebook page/posted on 6-6-2014. One of the few last posts on his page, prior to his death.
I knew that there would be a lot said on social media today, about today being the 1st anniversary of Robin Williams’s death.
Robin Williams’s death has saddened me, for a lot of reasons. As well as made me angry (which had nothing to do with him) , which I’ve written various blogs in honor of Robin, in the last year.
This blog will be NO different. It will be to honor the way he lived, not the way he died.
The reason will be reiterated, as I go along in this blog, as I’ve said in other blogs about him.
I think for how much he gave of himself, to others, the joy and sadness that we were able to get from his work, is what should be his legacy. Not how he died.
Not that there is shame in how he died, I’m a mental health activist, who concentrates on suicide prevention. It just saddens me to no end, that his death is going to cast a pall , while not necessarily a negative one, but a complicated one, that it took his death, to realize, that we have a ways to go in supporting those who have complex medical and mental health issues.
That while even though we have so much we can still enjoy from his work, as well as learn from his honesty and with integrity, in how he lived his life. How much pleasure he gave people. How in him being honest with his own demons, made it easier for others to come forward and get help for what they needed.
Both after his death, but while he was still alive, is what I want to concentrate on with him, going forward. It’s not going to change, as I was a mental health activist who concentrated on suicide prevention, before his death, as well as after.
It just makes me profoundly sad that his death, should ever overshadow his life. While normally, I’d appreciate anything that brings attention to removing stigma from mental health and suicidal ideation/suicidality , it can’t be with him being made the poster child, of why mental health and suicide prevention needs more awareness.
If you want to honor his life, as well as his loved one’s requests, concentrate on the pleasure we have gotten from his work. How at times it made you laugh until you cried. Or in his more dramatic roles, how it made you cry. How it made you think. How his work made you feel your feelings, deeply. Honor him by realizing that de-stigmatizing mental health and suicide isn’t by forwarding a meme about mental health with a picture of him, bi-annually.
Realize that everyone who suffers from mental health issues and suicidality, and their loved ones, deserves the same compassion, respect and honor, in the way they live or lived.
And in the various ways they die. No more stigma. No more shame. No more differentiating a death from suicidality to any other medical or mental health disorder. By making a concentrated effort, to remove stigma, isn’t glorifying or promoting suicide. It’s trying with more compassion for everyone, to understand what it is. And what it isn’t.
I’ll be honoring Robin Williams’s life, by choosing to celebrate on how he lived his life and watch Patch Adams and maybe a comedy special of his, today. Because I, like most people , haven’t been able to watch any of his work, in the last year, of being so sad that he’s gone.
But I realize now, that I’d like to think he’d want people to honor him, in the way he lived. And to enjoy his amazing work.
I really have to believe, that he would NOT want people to dwell on his death. Or the way he died.
Rest In Peace, Robin