I've lost my spouse to suicide. Yes, I'm a survivor. In shorthand for the in-crowd: SOS (survivor of suicide).
My memories are crystal clear. My hunger for anything related to him. I couldn't stay away from his own 'special' thread on the message board we occasionally frequented. Dedicated to him, but mostly a vent for other people's feelings. Shock, disbelieve, sadness, fear. And an insatiable appetite for... Information? The need to know. As if knowing would make it comprehensible. And I understood that. And respected it. We all need to mourn such a loss.
I couldn't stay away, even though it cut me open. The speculations, the assumptions, the reduction of a man, so special, so complex, to a simplistic... 2D cartoon figure. It cut deep.
I understand this urge. This utter need to make sense of it. But the well meaning dedications to Robin Williams (he too so special, so complex), it irks me.
Depression and to what it can drive you, cannot be explained, only experienced. It's not just sadness, it's not just fear or despair or powerlessness. It is so much more. And though it can obliterate all hope, all perspective, it cannot make the rest of that person obsolete. Robin Williams was more than just a severely depressed man. So much more than a man in the grips of a fatal disease. Suicide is but a symptom, however horrible, of a serious and deadly disease. Robin Williams was not just his suicide. He was not just a man so desperate that he could not see another way out. He was not a man whose zest for life, whose joie de vivre simply gave out. He was a man, special, complex, with a voracious appetite for life and an enormous love for people, especially his people. And he also suffered from a disease which in his case, on that very moment, proved to be fatal.
The dedications to him, however sweet, cannot explain, cannot make this comprehensible. And thus it irks me. Because these explanations, these assumptions are too simplistic. It leaves him a flat character, not sufficiently fleshed out, in a 2D story based on a very short period in his very rich life. What it paints is an unsatisfying picture that can never fulfill our need to understand. And thus these reasons, these assumptions, they are obsolete. And yet, they cut so so deep.
I know I cannot make the world understand how hurtful such a focus can be. But maybe one person will. And maybe that will mean that one more person will remember the whole of Robin Williams and not just the end of his life.
To Robin Williams. All of him. Thank you.