I’ve thought a lot about Robin Williams in the past week.
Like y’all, I grew up loving Mork & Mindy (as a precious little blond five year old I would greet strangers in the grocery store with an Orkan handshake and say “nanu nanu.” —it’s a wonder I wasn’t kidnapped) and seeing all of his movies, but like all of us, I took him for granted. But I figure we all take each other for granted, save for little pockets of interest here and there, so that’s not really the great crime here, I say while Hook sits paused just a tab over.
A crime we may be partaking in, however, is that maybe we’re painting a narrative about Robin Williams private life in his own mind that is maybe not very considerate of Robin Williams. I think maybe we should reconsider what we’re saying about depression and suicide and talk from our heads more and our grief a little less.
I am less and less sad about the cause of Robin Williams’ death, the more I think about it. I find it more poetic every time I get to the drawing-a-conclusion part of the thought process, and, in this headspace, I feel sorrier for Parkinson’s patients than suicide victims.
I try to put myself in his position, to imagine a life that maybe was really big and wonderful even if punctuated by times of extreme sadness due to being a deeply feeling person. He was an avid cyclist and lately a vegan, which suited his, by all accounts, warm and gentle and loving personality. You don’t ride a bike for a hobby, dedicate thousands upon thousands of hours and miles to sitting alone with your thoughts and two wheels, without being a thinker. You don’t typically arrive at a conclusion of veganism, for any set of reasons, without being much of a thinker. You don’t construct your entire personality around being funny and harmless without being a thinker.
Robin Williams was, even if just by proximity to everything he did, a thinker.
I don’t know if he liked himself, but I have to imagine all the rehab and therapy and celebrity pressure to do so would have given him little choice but to at least acknowledge the prospect.
But now we do know that he suffered from the early stages of Parkinson’s, whatever those are.
And I can try to imagine being someone who has lived through a lot of bad things to find a peaceful, wise place, on a two-wheeled therapist, where exercise and diet hold things into a finally relief-giving position. In this scenario, I can also imagine that becoming a posterperson for a disease that deprives your mind of control over your body, and maybe deprives you of the ability to ride a bike, or hop up and down on a stage, or drive a car maybe isn’t how you want to finish up an already pretty jam packed existence.
I think Robin Williams lived a really full life.
I think he thought very deeply, or at least frequently, given his bike thighs, about life and his place in it.
I think he ended his life when he wanted to.
I think there is nothing to lament here except that there is no cure for Parkinson’s.
And stars that shine the brightest are missed the most when they disappear from sight.