“You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”
Robin Williams, July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014.
Yesterday the sad news of actor Robin Williams’ passing reached us. Immediately my mind filled with the many moments of joy he brought to me and my family. Only a couple of weeks ago we watched Mrs. Doubtfire together with our girls, laughing so hard we had to pause the movie at times. I remember watching Good morning Vietnam as a young girl and being utterly touched by it, watching Dead Poets Society in my English class in Sweden as a teenager, Aladdin on one of my first dates with my husband, Good Will Hunting as newlyweds in our first small appartment, Night at the Museum and Happy feet with our small girls.
I can hardly believe he is gone. He was a part of our lives we somehow thought would always be there. Robin Williams made us laugh and cry, he inspired me in writing poetry and in finding the crazy, the funny, the beauty in life.
After he underwent his open-heart surgery in 2009, and came back joking about it, I felt a special bond to him. He had had aortic valve replacement, just like me. It is difficult to explain, the special bond between us “heart-people”. It is a comfort just to know that someone else has been there, has felt the utter loneliness of lying on that operating table. Not that I wish anyone to go through it.
Robin Williams struggled with depression as well — which is difficult to imagine, he being so funny and brilliant. Heart disease and depression is not unusual to be linked together and I was so saddened to learn that though he beat the heart disease, he was overcome by the depression in the end.
I too have experienced depression close to me, how it affected myself and loved ones. It is often accompanied with a sense of guilt, an almost knee-jerk urge to cover up and hide it. We want to be our best, show our best, make the world a happier place, not burden it with our struggles. But is there a nobler thing than to open up, reach out, meet each other as we truly are? And that way help each other, through bad and good times. I wish everyone who struggles with depression a good friend, an understanding doctor, the best professional treatment there is, and kind people to support on the scary journey through the dark and back to the light.
Because there is light on the other side of the dark, no matter how dark the night is. A depressed person can be told this, can sometimes know this, but not feel it. The darkness is everywhere, never-ending. This is why help is so important, someone to lean on who will repeat: “soon you’ll be out in the light, soon”. How grateful we are for the friend who will show us that spark of light!
Maybe the people who have waded through much sorrow, are the ones most ready to amuse us, to crack a joke, make us laugh. Because they know the true value of a spark of light. Or a little madness.
Take care friends,