“Fame you’ll be famous, as famous as can be, with everyone watching you win on TV, Except when they don’t because sometimes they won’t…”*
Read the newspaper. What does it say? All bad. It’s all bad. People have forgotten what life is all about. They’ve forgotten what it is to be alive. They need to be reminded. They need to be reminded of what they have and what they can lose. What I feel is the joy of life, the gift of life, the freedom of life, the wonderment of life!
Leonard Lowe, Awakenings (1990)
Well, I am very sad about the suicide of Robin Williams earlier in the week. He seems to have succumbed to despair.
Robin and I go a long way back–all the way to “Mork and Mindy” which I watched when I was a graduate student in 1979. I thought he was hilarious.
I have written before about the kinship I always felt with him, of how he was my brother’s doppelganger, born weeks apart in 1951. Years would go by when I wouldn’t see my own brother, but I would see Robin. And then he played “Mrs. Doubtfire” and reminded me of my mother! It was that inner Scotsman, I guess, full of melancholy and sweetness. Indeed, he was like kin and so his death seems not so much like the death of a movie star, but like a brother. Perhaps you think that is silly, but it is how I feel. It is possible to feel very close to writers, poets, and yes, even movie stars.
I watched Awakenings last night–this movie is pure gold–and it is all about appreciating Life and reminding oneself often of the great gift that it is. So it is doubly heart-breaking to know that Robin Williams had lost sight of this.
“Does anything in nature despair except man? An animal with a foot caught in a trap does not seem to despair. It is too busy trying to survive. It is all closed in, to a kind of still, intense waiting. Is this a key? Keep busy with survival. Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go.”
–May Sarton, Journal of Solitude
May Sarton is right. Hang in there.