I Think I Understand

There’s so much debate over Robin Williams’ suicide lately; it gets to me.  His death is tragic. His life was a gift to everyone who had the good fortune to pass his way, whether face-to-face or in theaters or in person.  But the questions about “why” and “what could we have done” are irritating and annoying.  There’s nothing we could have done.  As to why, we’ll never know, not completely.  But we have clues, if we’ll just pay attention.

When people judge others who commit suicides, the judgments are made from the perspective of ignorance.  And idiocy.  And stupidity.  I could go on.  We do not know what is in another person’s mind.  We do not know the unhappiness.  We have no way of measuring the fear or pain or anger that resides within. We should not try.  We should only weep in the knowledge that whatever we could have done, we did not do.  Not because we did not want to, but because we did not know.

When the pain of living is greater than the fear of dying…when the pain of living is greater than the pain of leaving loved ones in pain…when the pain of living exceeds the will to live, people choose the ugly alternative.  Anyone who judges those people, anyone who calls them weak or stupid or selfish, deserves to know the pain the departed knew, if only for awhile…just to understand the depth and the immeasurable wickedness of pain that accompanies depression and its allies.

I have no way of knowing the pain Robin Williams, or anyone else, felt, but I know it must have felt insurmountable.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to I Think I Understand

  1. Jennifer, I did not realize your brother had committed suicide. I’m so very sorry to learn that. Wealth is no match for depression, I guess; Robin Williams’ death seems to confirm that unpleasant fact.

  2. Jennifer says:

    I had just watched Robin Williams in “What Dreams May Come” two weeks ago, and it addresses suicide in the movie. My brother was depressed and unfortunately went to a doctor in San Antonio who prescribed drugs to him, which caused his suicide (“Dr. Feelgood” was eventually sent to prison for ruining many other lives with his incompetence). I was surprised Robin Williams, with all his wealth, chose suicide as an option. It is such a lonely thing to do.

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