Monday, August 11, 2014

Robin Williams..... Lessons from Loss

I am sitting here still in shock… and in tears… over the passing of Robin Williams.
I am reading the flood of heartbreak and sadness of his Hollywood peers and fans on Twitter, Facebook, and through every entertainment industry venue, periodical, and, on every news channel online and off.

I am wondering if Robin knew how loved he was.

Not just how many people thought he was funny, or how many fans he had, but how LOVED he was.

For his humor, for his generous heart, his strength, his energy, his… light.

I wonder if he knew how many people found light in their own personal darkness due to him… a moment of laughter, for no one could resist laughing as they watched Robin in his comedic work… and even in somber, dark moments of his dramatic work….or especially as he battled his real life inner demons time and again.

I wonder if he knew how many families he brought together as they enjoyed his movies. How many people he moved. How many lives he touched.

When someone has had lovely things said about them while they were living and not just on the day of their death, you find more assurance in that praise. Everyone who worked with Robin said he was generous with his time, his support, a hug, a laugh, encouragement, and guidance. That was said every step of the way, and is being repeated today.

One thing that few realize about the TRULY gifted – the greatest of the great – not measured by fame but rather by the depth and breadth of their talent – is that they are truly humble. There is little room for ego in a soul that needs the space to create and live as many characters, to see and feel SO much. They see the masses of fans, and while the layman may say ‘ah they know they are adored’, the ‘gifted one’ is often overwhelmed at the attention, and most often feels these people loved the character, or the story of the film etc. They are grateful and appreciative of the accolades, the benefits of fame, and for the opportunity to keep creating and using their gifts. Rarely do they feel loved.

In this day and age it must be especially hard to feel it. Magazines and TV Media, even the ‘reputable’ ones, comment on their every move, ask viewers for their opinions. The whole world weighs in on if you drink too much Starbuck’s, missed the gym this week, make bad choices in love, or drive too snazzy a car. How does that feel like love? It feels like judgment, anger, and resentment at a minimum. This is not a soap box moment for me…. it is germane to what took the genius and amazing soul of Robin Williams from us. How could he have ever been able to feel loved in a society that acts as we do…as if we are judge and jury, and ultimately executioner.  How can one feel safe to ask for help, to not smile ALL the time??? Acting as if we own some rights to people who are bold enough to share their gifts for the world to see. And… they and their loved ones get stalked on and offline (no reason to follow a star’s mom or wife on social media), those who know ‘famous’ people all too often name drop, or act as if they are trophies to be shown off or ‘given’ as favors to others via introduction in the industry. These are people. With minds, hearts, bodies, souls… just like you… and your mom… and your kids… and you Gran… PEOPLE.  Think of that you social commentators and entertainment media people before you call some young woman a ‘hot mess’, comment that some 30 something star ‘sure has gotten around a lot’ as she is bold enough to attempt love again….before you condemn an addict as ‘weak’ or ‘stupid’. Shame on you!

Depression is a silent killer and yet its screams are so loud, that it is deafening. A smile is merely how someone chooses to portray their inner emotions. Anyone can joke, be energetic, humorous, and smile constantly… anyone can… surely a fabulous actor can. It pains me so that Robin felt so much pain that it was unbearable…. and had to stop… by any means. Listen to people when they speak… REALLY listen…. Look them in the eye and see if it matches the words you hear. Don’t just say you understand or that you love them… make them FEEL it… and it may be hard with some. Depression keeps people from feeling the love… and it is up to those around them to hopefully find a way to break through that…

This very populated world of ours has millions who feel alone….shamed, misunderstood, different… alone. No amount of uplifting quotes posted on Facebook is going to change that. Taking someone by the hand… and the heart and building them up… with truth not empty phrases that hurt more than they help.

I obviously do not know what pained Robin Williams….but pain indeed it was. We did not just lose a great actor, an unparalleled comedian….we lost a man…. a husband, a father, a friend, a mentor, a beautiful soul.

While it may seem that I tangented off into other topics, truly I did not. It is all about awareness, compassion, sensitivity, a moral high ground, a society that incubates wellness instead of pain. Privately, publically, personally, and in society at large we all have people who we know and love, who need to be heard, need to feel the love….sometimes it is the person staring back at us in the mirror.

The loss of Robin is…gutting me and innumerable others…. Let’s at least take it as a wake up call.

Robin…. Thank you for the laughs, the tears, the films, the comedy, the exuberance, and yes even for the darkness. I pray you are comfortably ensconced in a true love and light that permeates you and you have deserved for so long. Rest in Peace.

Robin’s’ wife, Susan Schneider made this statement:
“This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken. On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”

"Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets. The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin’s family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams." —Barack Obama

@bobsaget: His heart was as big as his genius. So sad. Rest in Peace Robin Williams.

Ana Martinez
 @wofstargirl  (Hollywood Walk of Fame) Hollywood is in tears. RIP Robin Williams.

Steve Carell @SteveCarell  Robin Williams made the world a little bit better. RIP.

Bree Turner
 @RealBreeTurner  Stunned. What a terrible, terrible loss. The ever radiating and utterly electric Robin Williams.

David Hasselhoff
 @DavidHasselhoff  Robin Williams the saddest of sad !! A genius with a huge heart!His death is awake up call! !Wow go hug your family and loved ones!

Michael Des Barres @MDesbarres  I have never laughed as hard as I did when I witnessed Robin Williams in a comedy club.He was blessed with an incomparable gift.

Alyssa Milano @Alyssa_Milano  Robin Williams! Your work! Your heart! Your brain! So much left for you to do. So much more to love you for! Heartbroken. Rest in peace.

Brooke Burke-Charvet @brookeburke  Deeply sad & shocked to learn the news of the passing of Robin Williams. The fragility of the industry that I work in is scary. Prayers...

Ozzy Osbourne @OzzyOsbourne  Such a tragic loss. I will always have amazing memories of @RobinWilliams. Respect and love goes out to his family.

Chris Daughtry @CHRIS_Daughtry  A great talent lost. Very sad news. #robinwilliams was one of the most versatile comedians of our time

@johncusack: RIP mr Williams - beyond great talent -such a kind and lovely person

Kelly Clarkson Devastating finding out about @robinwilliams today. He was an amazing talent and incredibly sweet. So sad.

Sesame Street @sesamestreet  We mourn the loss of our friend Robin Williams, who always made us laugh and smile.

LLCoolJ @llcoolj  Robin williams. it was an Honor to know and work with you. Your genius will live on. May God embrace your family. Sleepwell.

Lenny Kravitz @LennyKravitz  Robin Williams, it was an honor to know you. #restinpeace

Orlando Jones @TheOrlandoJones  RIP Robin Williams - It was 1 of the absolute highlights of my life to work w/ you. You will be missed by many.

Pauley Perrette @PauleyP  Oh God. #RIP #RobinWilliams I loved that man

GRAHAM ELLIOT @grahamelliot  So saddened to hear about the passing of Robin Williams. My thoughts and prayers go out to his friends, family and fans.

Lindsay Lohan @lindsaylohan Mr. Williams visited me the first day of filming The Parent Trap. I will never forget his kindness. What an enormous loss. My condolences.

Deborah "Debbie" Gibson  Beyond sad about Robin Williams .... Is there anyone who didn't / doesn't love this man ? Wow.... Shocked and heartbroken .

Official Laci Green  I just can't believe Robin Williams is dead . It makes me so sad to know he was in so much pain...depression is a silent killer... Hug your loved ones. Ask if they're okay. Find them help if they need it. Smiles don't = "I'm okay". Don't expect them to go it alone. RIP Robin. Thanks for all the laughs.

LeAnn Rimes Cibrian @leannrimes  Deeply saddened by the passing of one of the greatest artists of our time Thank you for bringing us joy all the years. R.I.P. #RobinWilliams

Minnie Driver         @driverminnie My Heart's broken. Robin was a beautiful, kind soul. Can't bear that he's gone. So incredibly sorry for his family.

Steve Martin         @SteveMartinToGo  I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul.

Ellen DeGeneres         @TheEllenShow  I can’t believe the news about Robin Williams. He gave so much to so many people. I’m heartbroken.

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