I’ve been saddened and affected by two national deaths this week.
The first death involved someone who is famous. Robin Williams succumbed to depression and suicide Monday. I normally take the deaths of famous people in stride. After all, I don’t really know them. But Robin Williams’ death has moved me. I’ve been watching him my entire life, after all. Mork and Mindy were a favorite when I was a small child. I even had a set of rainbow suspenders! Good Will Hunting is a favorite movie of mine, largely because of his character. What Dreams May Come drives me to tears every time I watch it. It is a beautiful and hopeful movie, though in light of Robin’s suicide it’s also a scary movie. (If you’ve seen the movie and believe in an afterlife like the one portrayed in it, I like to think that Robin lived through his hell on this plane, and progressed straight to beauty in the afterlife, if there is one. I recommend watching Astral City as a follow-up to What Dreams May Come.)
It seems incredibly tragic to me that someone who has brought such joy to the world couldn’t find any in his own life. If you suffer from depression and are even remotely contemplating suicide, please reach out for help. I lost an aunt to suicide many years ago. I miss her dearly, and I wish she had done reached out instead of pulling a trigger. She is certainly missed, and Robin will be too.
The second death involved someone who was not famous. Michael Brown was unarmed and shot from behind in broad daylight in Ferguson, Missouri. I haven’t really organized my thoughts around this tragedy. I’m not sure I can organize my thoughts around another senseless killing of a black American. But I want to give Michael’s death space on my blog. This article in the New Yorker says things more eloquently than I probably could anyway. My heart goes out to those grieving in Ferguson and across the nation.