Robin Williams: An American Icon

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There is so much suckage in the world today: Iraq. Gaza. Russia. Shootings of unarmed, innocent teenagers. Shootings, period. Plane crashes. Wildfires. Ebola. Racism. Sexism. Murder. The list goes on and on and on. (I feel like Billy Joel needs to write another verse or two of “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”)

I had every intention of posting to Facebook tonight two adorable little anecdotes  about my kids — until the news broke: “Robin Williams, Dead at 63.”

Robin Williams, a beloved American actor and comedian — dead, of an apparent suicide. At first I thought it was a hoax — as this happens all the time; Hollywood icons are declared “dead,” the internets go wild, only to find the “deceased” issues a statement an hour later that they are, very much indeed, alive.

Sadly, that was not the case here. Robin Williams — Mork, Patch Adams, the Genie, Pan, Mrs. Doubtfire, John Keating, to name a few — is gone.

His wife issued a heart-breaking statement, asking us all to remember Robin for how he lived and not how he died.

Surely, those who knew and loved him personally will keep his memory alive. And his career will be forever remembered; he was a comedic genius and, as my sister wisely noted — he was beloved across all generations; he appealed to adults and children alike.

But while I respect and completely understand her wishes, I think that we’d be undermining his loss if we didn’t shed light on addiction or severe depression — two of the demons that Williams battled with and spoke publicly about — which supposedly contributed to his death. (He’d reportedly been in rehab as recently as last month).

Let’s hope something positive can come from this enormous loss. Depression and addiction are real — and we can’t comprehend what it’s like to be on that side unless we’ve been there. Unless we’ve battled similar demons. Unless we know, or have been around a loved one suffering — and even then, maybe we can’t relate.

Robin Williams couldn’t beat his demons … but there is hope and there is help.

If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

National Suicide Prevention Week is September 8th -14th. Let’s help raise awareness.

RIP, Robin Williams. You will be missed.

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