An Open Letter to Those Who Called Robin Williams A Coward
Mostly, I have seen nothing but a massive outpouring of love for the tragic loss of Robin Williams. Which makes me happy to see people so full of gratitude for the humor and laughs he invoked in just about everyone who has seen any of his countless comedic endeavors.
What made me want to give my two cents is the unfortunate post I ran across on Facebook last night. The post was a tribute to all that Robin had offered to the world and how sad it was to lose him. What struck me were some of the comments people responded to the post with.
Now I know, this is a free country and they can say whatever they want.
That being said, maybe we should think a bit more before opening our mouths. Some of the derogatory comments mentioned that Robin was a coward and selfish and it was cruel what he did to his family. And I suppose that people are entitled to that opinion. But, I’m also entitled to respond.
As someone who has both suffered from severe depression and lost an immediate family member to suicide, I feel that I have a pretty good view to share. And although these random commenters have every right to feel the way they do, oh how I wish they could truly feel what people who take their own lives feel before they go rendering their judgments.
Yes, suicide is heartbreaking. For those who feel so low and full of pain that they see no other way out. For those left to mourn their loss and wonder if there was something else they could have done or said that could have changed the outcome.
But in defense of all of those who are already gone, who did it, who killed themselves. Having been so low and having debated taking my own life, I can say that suicide is by no means an act of cowardice. In my opinion, it is the exact opposite. I never had the balls to actually go through with it because I was a coward, and I was afraid.
I am not glamorizing it by any stretch of the imagination. It is not glamorous. It is the polar opposite. It is tragic and messy and so devastating that it takes your breath away over and over again. They are not heroes because they allowed their finger to push the trigger, or jump off the stool. And I can say that the survivors of loved ones who have done the unspeakable, we are not heroes either. We are sad and scarred souls who ache to depths that many will hopefully never have to experience.
I can say that those kind, sensitive, sad and beautiful human beings who have chosen to end their physical life on earth, that they are not cowards, they are not selfish. They were human. They were in pain. They were hopelessly sad. They were so tortured that they could not see any light at the end of the tunnel.
And instead of calling them names, thinking bad about them or their acts, or putting ourselves above them, it is my hope that we can all take a moment to send them and their families love.
It also makes me realize that we as society, me included, should take more time out of our day to smile at one another. To reach out to people. To lend a hand. To put aside our annoyance at those who are sad or acting out and try to see from their perspective. To offer our ear even if we are tired. To let go of judging others for their so-called sins of struggling with alcohol & drugs or whatever and look below the surface. They are calling out for help. Give them a hand. That is when they need it the most.
They may or may not take it. That is not up to us, but them. And whatever they decide, I hope that we can always celebrate the beauty they brought into our lives for however long.
Finally, for those of you that say that people who have taken their own lives are selfish and cowardice, to you I wish for you that you never have to suffer from the excruciating pain that one who suffers from such intense depression. It is horrible. I also wish for you that you never have to live through losing a family member to suicide. Again, it is worse than horrible. But what I do wish is that you may just for a few moments, drop your uneducated judgment of those who have and do suffer. May your life be a thousand times easier and that you only have to learn your lessons of empathy and compassion through another’s experiences in a blog.
With love & respect for all of those who have suffered on either side of suicide. And to Robin Williams and all those who chose suicide, may you see clearly just how beautiful & loved you are. And for those who are contemplating suicide, I wish you the ability to see how each and every one of us is a candle to illuminate one another’s paths.
If you want or need a hand, just reach out.