A Personal Essay on Suicide – “The Children, They Don’t Get It – The News.”
A friend of mine wrote to me today. He and his family are vacationing in a one room boathouse on a lake. He shared that earlier this summer he and his wife told their children it was important to get to know this man, Robin Williams, who the children had not yet seen. During July their family movie to watch was “Awakenings”. They brought “Dead Poet’s Society” with them on vacation to look at. He wrote “The children, they don’t get it – the news.”
When I read what he wrote to me I thought:
“WHAT-THE-NEWS-DOES-TO – The News”
Hearing of Robin Williams death, his passing from suicide, leaves me feeling wounded deeply and opened once again a very deep wound which has never healed. This wound isn’t supposed to heal. I wouldn’t want it to heal. It makes me remember. It’s a wound that one must learn to live with, that one must ride through the storm and terror of grief.
I know, I have ridden through this storm and terror of grief. I live with a cut, a tear, wounded and scarred. You see, our nephew also died, having committed suicide. He suffered with and battled depression. He was very young when his father passed from Hodgkin’s disease. It was shared with us that it was as though Brian’s light went out when his father passed. We, family, friends, did our best to add light, bring out the bright and brilliant sparks from the beautiful flame which we could sometimes see aglow within him. Yet, his personal pain went deep to his core.
Robin Williams was not well, he was ill, he had an illness, psychiatric illness, mental illness (which of the two sounds less stigmatizing or not stigmatizing at all?), a symptom of which is depression, of which he was battling. We’ve learned he was also diagnosed with and in early stages of Parkinson’s. He was suffering with chronic illness. In desperation, he made a decision, a choice to end his life. His depression became so deep that he was unable to see that the sun of a new morning would again arise after what was the darkest of nights for him.
For any family left behind it is devastating. We are the survivors. We, as survivors, deserve compassion. Robin Williams’s family is no exception to this. They are survivors, the ones with a new fresh wound, one which will never quite heal. One which has changed their lives forever, one which hopefully they will learn to live with, albeit difficult and challenging.
I think of my nephew Brian Horowitz every day. Amongst fond memories are those brought back when I see Legos and LEGOLAND, books such as The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, and J.J.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit: or There and Back Again, and Narnia. These were just a few of Brian’s favorites. Rest in Peace, Brian.
My sister-in-law, Diane, you have my love. I am forever grateful you brought this sweet soul into this world and gave me the opportunity of knowing Brian. For this I will feel forever blessed.
In memory of Robin Williams, I will be revisiting and watching Robin Williams phenomenally portraying characters in film, and “Mrs. Doughtfire” is one frequently seen with my sister Francine.
RIP, Robin Williams.
May Robin Williams’s family be surrounded with love and light, compassion, caring and support of family and friends. May they be embraced by our love, all of us who loved and appreciated their beloved.
I send my love and my compassion to his family.
To everyone reading this, you are not alone, there is always someone to reach out to. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts please seek help.
You can call: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
You can get through it. You matter. You make a difference.