Because One Wasn’t Enough: A Second, Pathos-Filled, Robin Williams Post
Alright, the first post wasn’t enough.
The suicide of Robin Williams has deeply affected me. I’m sad. I’m really sad. I feel, genuinely, like a member of my family has died. Perhaps a beloved uncle or aunt, someone I thought of often, talked to often, cared about deeply. Tears come and go at irregular intervals.
I said in the last post, Robin Williams was of my father’s generation. One year younger. My father died in December 2002. He had a massive heart attack during a routine surgery; it was unexpected. He had just weathered a severe health crisis, and his surgery was just the cleanup. No problems were anticipated. But he had a heart attack on the table, they spent 45 minutes getting him back, and when they did he was hopelessly brain damaged, and we pulled the plug.
i pulled the plug. His wife of less than a year asked me what to do, to be sure she was doing the right thing. And I said “pull the plug. Let him go.” Goddamn, that decision haunts me. Because how could it not? You can never be sure. We pulled the plug and I held his hand while he died. I held his hand. He died. I watched him stop breathing and he died with his hand in mine and I swear there was a tear in his eye when I told him that we had to let him go and I don’t know if he understood, if he heard, or not. But I feel like he did and he didn’t want to go — because who does? I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die if I’m a hundred years old, goddammit, I don’t want to go. But I feel Robin’s decision too much. I know what it is to feel that it’s all too much. I almost drank myself to death at 25 and I knew what I was doing. I didn’t want to die and I tried to die. I held a knife to my wrist at 16 questioning and I decided to stay. I tasted the business end of a .357 pistol, drunk, in my 30s and again I decided to stay. I still own that pistol and I look at it: what the hell is wrong with you? I don’t know if I mean the gun or myself. I don’t understand why he killed himself. I understand why he killed himself.
Is it ever otherwise? I don’t know.
Robin Williams made a choice to die. He threw a belt over a door and hung himself. And he died. Too goddamn young, Why do we die at such a young age? I’m convinced that we humans are just beginning to figure things out somewhere between the ages of 50 and 100. We die when we’re starting to get it. If we had another hundred years we’d really be cooking. There’s more than we know. We never know. We die too young.
I find myself crying at Robin Williams’ passing because he feels like someone I knew, though I never met him. He gave a damn, I think. Too few people do. He had a way of saying things directly, in a way that highlighted why they mattered. You know, without the bullshit.