While the rest of the world mourns and offers tributes to Robin Williams, I choose to take an entirely different view on this story. Robin Williams was obviously disturbed, so disturbed that even as he entered the final chapters of his life, he couldn’t destroy the demons that haunted him. Clearly he suffered from a chemical imbalance as most addicts, and obsessive/compulsive personalities do. But I have difficulty understanding all those privileged people like Phillip Seymour Hoffman who can’t cope and choose to end their lives rather than face their demons. Help is available and unlike other Americans, they can afford any care they require. Hoffman was more concerned about his son being a “trust child” than about being there to raise him.
Robin Williams leaves behind a wife and children aged 31, 25 and 23. They will have to live with the gruesome and selfish circumstances of his death for the rest of their lives. Joan Rivers has spoken about how angry she was at her husband Edgar Rosenberg when he took his own life and her feelings were absolutely reasonable. If you’re single and have no children and want to end your life it’s tragic but at least others aren’t affected. But for a man with a family it’s completely unacceptable. Feelings and emotions, no matter how intense, must take a backseat to the people who depend on you. Any parent would gladly sacrifice their own lives to protect their children. Why is this any different? The counter to this argument would be to say that he was so sick that he couldn’t reason properly. Understood but we are not animals. Even through intense feelings, and chemical depression, we have choice.
Robin Williams was a huge talent and he will be missed. Hopefully the story of his untimely suicide will not be in vain. Perhaps others might seek help instead of choosing the alternative. But while he chose to leave this world, I am reminded of all the children in hospitals across this country fighting diseases such as cancer, fighting for an opportunity to grow up, to experience another birthday party. These children demonstrate how precious life is and yet Robin Williams through it way like it meant nothing. In no way do I mean to deny that depression is real and horrible and that fixing it is as easy as “just say no”. But there is help and one owes it to their family, if not to themselves, to do whatever it takes to fight rather than to submit to this terrible illness.