Last week, we learned that Robin Williams took his own life. Robin always seemed sad to me. When he was in a manic burst of energy, he almost seemed to ooze agony somehow. He was a brilliant, tormented soul. I’ve known a few of those personally. They are a blessing and a curse. They touch your heart but they can’t seem to avoid hurting it too.
Since Robin died, I’ve been thinking about depression and that flat place. Two years ago, I took my ex-husband’s gun, put it in my mouth and nearly pulled the trigger. I wish I could say that it ended there. I wish I could say that I considered my girls and what an ugly burden my demise would leave them with. I did think of them. But I also planned. I set aside funds to rent a room and purchase a canvas tarp. I was going to check myself into a room, lie on the tarp, put a pillow over my head and pull the trigger behind the pillow. I reasoned to myself that it would be no muss, no fuss. Room service, the cops..they are hardened to this kind of scene. I figured they would appreciate that I tried to make things as clean as possible for them.
But my plan had a flaw. I urged my ex to take my daughter to visit family for the weekend. That was critical. I needed to be alone. But he refused. In the end, the black dog went on its way.
But I guess it found poor Robin.
I admit that I continue to struggle with depression. But tonight, I saw some fine musicians play beautiful songs and felt, perhaps for the first time in my life, such a fellowship with this community. These are people with dirt in their hands. By that I mean that they take the clay..their experiences, successes, failures, heartbreak..and they mold it into something worthwhile.
It is in these moments that I realize life is beautiful. And I realize that difficult times inform the better. And that, though all around the world, people are suffering with diseases, (Ebola) war, (Iraq/Afghanistan/Gaza/Ukraine) riots, (Ferguson) there is also music and art.
People can come together to be enriched by one another. When we do this, we should consider what a blessing it is.
I never knew Robin. But I know me. And I wish I could tell him to sit in a quiet room and consider the music. As I did tonight.
I wish I could tell him that he was gifted.
I wish I could tell him that the black dog moves on. That life is worth living no matter how bad it hurts at times.
Instead, I will tell myself and I will tell you.