Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Good Grief

I just had a big cry.  Well a big"ish" cry.

It seems like the loss of Robin Williams has hit me harder than even I would ordinarily wish to admit.  There are several reasons for this.  I never met Robin Williams.  I only ever watched him on television.  I'm sure I watched every single one of his works from the comfort of my living room.  Otherwise known as the best seat in the house.

I don't ordinarily get choked up at the loss of a celebrity.  Seems this year though, we lost some of the biggest talents I've ever been privileged to witness.  From Maya Angelou to Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and finally to the effervescent Robin Williams.  And I'm dealing with several impending losses of my own - a dear friend is battling a terminal illness and is struggling, my mother in law is terminally ill and just days away from moving on in her own journey, which makes my heart break for my husband.  We're dealing with a lost job, and just generally the day to day angst of how difficult parenting and marriage and the life domestica can truly be.

And despite it being 20 years since I lost my father and 6 since I lost my grandfather, I realize almost daily that the men in my life who made me laugh, smile, buck up and get over my own crap, leave.  They leave.  They just go, never to come back.  And Mr. Williams is now one of them.

Since losing my father, my life has been a roller coaster.  Not a single day of it do I regret, however, so much of it has been spent overcoming that grief.  Living up to impossible ideals imposed on me by myself, and some projection of what I believe would make my parents (both of them) eternally proud.  I'm not one for organized faith, but I do believe in supernatural phenomenon that gives me solace that somewhere out there there are little souls of great people past who shepherd me through each stage of my life's journey out of love.

When down and dealing with my mental illnesses, I could usually find a run of Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji or one of his stand up shows on tv, and it wouldn't be long before Mr. Williams cracked the smile on my face.  Even if it was barely present I could feel the monstrous weight of whatever I was being held down with, lift ever so briefly.  Allowing me to breathe, cry, release the intensity of my muscles which had been tightened to the point of painful finger nail imprints in the palms of my hands.  And I guess that my weeping is now because there will be no more "drive by fruitings" or brilliant head sitting.  No more Nanu Nanu's or Russian characterizations of baby delivering doctors to distract me.  Just like my father will no longer challenge me unconditionally to be whatever I want to be, or like my grandpa will never grasp my head in his bear like hand with such firm gentleness that it helped exorcise the demons out for me without even being on purpose.

I hate my demons.  I hate living with them.  I hate having to figure out on a daily basis how to embrace them, just to remove any minute amount of their power over my mind and my heart.  And it breaks my heart more so that my husband can read these demons.  When learning about Mr. Williams suicide, he came up to tell me of his passing (like by some incredible feat of mind reading to know that this would be important), and pleaded with me to "please don't ever do that to him".  My husband knew that in a split second this could be our reality - even likely before I'd have ever been able to truly admit it.

I don't know how to purge the demons.  I try my best to adapt to them.  Manage them.  Rise above them.  Function despite them.

I'm devastated that others like myself, suffering with depression and mental illnesses are still isolated, left to despair.  Mental illness is as physical an illness as any cancer, broken limb or ailment that needs a bandaid, antibiotic or tender loving care.  I wish to god there was a way to make this universally understood.  If a man who is brilliant, a giant ball of energy and exuberance, can be devastated enough by the demons within him to take his own life, how in the world can just anyone overcome it?  I guess if you're reading this, and you're down and not feeling right as rain, I'm begging you to please talk to someone.  Anyone.  Talk to me.  Let's save each other.  Life is so hard.  We don't have to be alone to live it.

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