Wednesday, August 13, 2014

An Open Letter to Robin Williams

I know this is a soccer blog, but if you'll indulge me for a few minutes, I need to get this out of my system.

Dear Robin,

I know it's rather presumptuous of me to refer to you by your first name, but you've spent so much time in my home, it's as if I've known you for years, decades even.

I'm struggling with the news of your death. It's like I've lost a member of my family. You were always that crazy uncle that we loved spending time with, because you could always make us laugh.

When I first heard the news, one of the first things I did, besides trying not to cry while I was at work, was call you a selfish bastard. I want to apologize for that. Out of everyone I know, I should know that suicide is not a selfish act, but one of ultimate desperation. I'm sorry.

I say that I should know because I've been in that deep, dark hole you found yourself in. I know how hard it is to summon up the will to keep going in the face of the soul-crushing pain that depression can bring us. I haven't told a lot of people this, but my first serious thoughts about suicide were when I was seven. Yes, seven years old.

One of the thoughts I had yesterday was that if depression can take down the funniest man on the planet, what chance do I have? I only wish that you had known how many millions of people you'd never met loved you like I do. I know the love and support I've gotten from family and friends is sometimes one of the few things that's kept me from succumbing to the dark side.

One of the other things that kept me from losing my battle with depression was you. Yes, you. Whenever I'd be feeling particularly down, I'd watch something you'd done. Whether it was "The Birdcage," "Good Morning, Vietnam" or your appearance on "Inside the Actor's Studio," it was usually enough to get me to smile and laugh again and you would pull me back from the brink.

One of Mr. Tipton's questions at the end is something I'm trying to draw some comfort from. When he asked you what you wanted to hear when you got to the Pearly Gates, you said you just wanted to know there was laughter in Heaven.

If there wasn't before, there is now, my friend. I hope you've found the peace that so eluded you here on Earth. Maybe, someday, I'll get to meet you in Heaven. I just hope that it's not for a few decades.

With much love,
Alan H.


Suicide is no joke. Please, if you are considering ending your life, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Your call is confidential and will be answered by a trained counselor in a local call center.

You matter.

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