One of the risk factors for suicide is having a family member who died by suicide. I have this risk factor. My mother took her life six years ago after a long battle with depression and alcoholism. She was imprisoned by the disease and by the legal system. She drove under the influence one too many times.
When I was a little girl my mother and I watched “Mork and Mindy” together. I remember she thought Robin Williams was very funny. She and I also watched “Little House on the Prairie.” I don’t have many more memories of watching television with her though. As my mom’s illness took over, she slowly began to lose interest in things like television, movies, and novels. She also stopped playing the piano and didn’t laugh as much. Depression will do that to a person. So will spending time in jail.
Robin Williams’ death hit a nerve for people this week and struck many people’s hearts. He was a comedic genius and gifted actor plus had a kind face with soulful eyes. When I heard the news I couldn’t help but think of my mother. She would have been sad that Robin Williams took his life. He died at 63. She died at 62.
Watching the news briefly, I couldn’t bear to hear the talk about waiting for the coroner’s report and the fact that the police were called. These types of details are simply too close to home. Later this week I heard that a Fox newscaster said Williams’ act was selfish and cowardly. After my mom died someone said it must be difficult knowing that my mom is in hell.
People were surprised – shocked to hear of Williams’ death. I wasn’t. When a person battles depression and addiction, there is a risk for suicide. I waited for the call about my mom for many years.
But when you do really get the call the loss hits you like a hand grenade. If you’re lucky, the love of other people pieces you together again.
In my fantasy life this week, I saw my mom greet Robin Williams at the Pearly Gates and she thanked him for making her laugh.