Robin Williams, 1951 – 2014

A year ago today the world woke up to the tragic news that Robin Williams had passed away.

It really shook me, which at the time I found odd because this was someone I hadn’t known personally. He lived a totally different life from mine, in a country I’d never been to and our paths never did cross. That said, through watching his films and his interviews, it felt like I did know him. It felt like he was always there, waiting to make me laugh and brighten my day. I didn’t know him, but it felt like I did. And it felt like I’d lost a reason to smile.

When I learnt more about the circumstances surrounding his passing, I was shocked.

Suicide. Even just typing that, I struggle to find the words to follow. It’s a hard subject to talk about, but its a conversation that needs to be had more. If the happiest man in the world can suffer from it, it goes to show that it can happen to anyone, regardless of their situation. Depression is a serious illness, and just like other serious illnesses, it takes lives. We need to fight to change that.

To be honest, it really scared me.

I’ve suffered with depression on and off for years now, and looking back I can see how dark things were, but at the time I was too busy feeling those feelings to notice. The thoughts in my head at the time were not my own and were not rational. Hearing the news scared me because of how much I related to it, and that broke my heart all over again. Thankfully, it also allowed me to talk to someone about it, to think about what I’d do if things got bad again, to appreciate the love and support I have. Its a shame that it took something like this happening to spark that.

A year on, I want to take a moment to remember the man who made us laugh. Did you know that he appeared in over 100 films? It hurts to lose someone so legendary, but at least we can be comforted by the wonderful characters he brought to life. If by some miracle Heaven has wifi and you’ve stumbled across this, thank you Mr. Williams for making me laugh and brightening my day. Thank you for the lessons you taught me, and for living the life you did. I really hope you’ve found peace and can see the love people have for you.

Life is fleeting. And if you’re ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer sky when the stars are strung across the velvety night. And when a shooting star streaks through the blackness, turning night into day… make a wish and think of me. Make your life spectacular. I know I did. I made it, Mom. I’m a grown up.”
– Jack (1996)

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