I normally do not address my personal life on this blog but today I feel a great need to put down my thoughts and share them with everyone. Yesterday, a highly successful, immensely talented and giving man chose to leave this world and make his journey to that other side. During his time here with us, he was a brilliant and flaming streak of light that brought us hilarity, happiness and often helped us laugh at the most difficult of situations. When I think about his humor, I am reminded of the fact that even in the worst of times, humor will diffuse some of the pain and allow you to forge ahead even when you think you can not make it one more step. My thoughts right now are those of a mourner of his passing out of our lives and into the next. I will be forever grateful for his presence, for the gifts he as shared with us all. I will watch his legacies, smile with pleasure at his often outrageous comedy, and I will shed tears at his most heart wrenching portrayals. He was so much more than just a comedian or talented actor. He was complex, intelligent, thought provoking, controversial and he left this world a better place for having been here. Those are the things that I will remember and treasure about his life here.
We all travel our own journey through life, our own path and no one ever truly knows another’s personal inner journey. Each soul has it’s own inner trials, stumbling blocks and dark forests which to travel through. No one can travel through that darkness with us. It is not a journey or path meant for others but for us alone to search through. Sometimes, we get lost in that darkness and have to fight our way through it to the light on the other side. For some the darkness and the trial of that inner place is so difficult and so overwhelming that there is no way to fight through it. The journey inside of our mind and our soul becomes such a constant every day battle, a war that we have no hope of winning. In those times, even the greatest of warriors will seek peace rather than a continued war. In their weariness of tortured thoughts and emotions, those warriors will see some other light calling to them… one that they hope offers that peace and sanctuary from the raging storms and battles constantly bombarding them at every front, every turn. Seeing that other light calling, they take a step that most others have no understanding of, no empathy or justification of. Those others are so filled with fear and loss that they react with horror and dismay at the act. They try to analyze it, put names and labels on it. Most often, they make it about themselves, about their journey, their loss… they place blame, guilt and the direst of spiritual and religious consequences upon the act. Those actions and behaviors do have their way of helping the ones left behind work through their grief and their pain but they do not bring the soul who left back, they do not change the fact that that soul left, and they do not bring the soul who has left any more peace in that other place they have gone to.
When someone makes that choice to leave, we are filled with rage, remorse, and guilt as well as the grief over the fact that they were so “weak” and “cowardly” as to put an end to their life and not continue the fight no matter what the cost, the circumstances or the consequences to them, or those left behind. We look at it as a willful and spiteful or spineless act against us. In reality, it is not about us. It is never really about us, the ones left to go on. It is about that person who was fighting that inner battle that we know nothing about. We can walk beside someone for a lifetime, join them on the outward surface of the journey through life, but we can never truly walk that inner path of the soul with them. As much as they might try to describe or explain it to us, to make us understand, there is really no way for us to experience that deepest, darkest part of their journey with them. That leaves us with profound guilt that we should have seen their pain, we should have been able to help them through it. It also leaves us with the rage that they left us to pick up the pieces, to go on without them. That is really the most agonizing part to admit, one’s anger at the person for choosing to leave you, for forcing you to go on without them. We want so much to fix everything, to make everything and everyone better, for life to go on happily ever after for everyone that we refuse to accept the sad fact that not everyone can be fixed or cured physically or emotionally. It goes against our way of thinking, our way of coping, the very fabric of those values and beliefs instilled in us from the beginnings of our lives.
I can make these observations and understand more about the why because I have spent a life time dealing with those innermost darkest paths that those other travelers fight through. I have had to confront the realities of that journey from both sides. I had to work through the grief of friends who made the choice, and I fought that darkest journey myself. I have spent various amounts of time in counseling with those who make such an effort to understand and fix the problems. I have had to fight to confront those demons and trials on my own and I understand that is a personal journey through the mine fields of my mind and my soul. It is the ultimate battle that I continue to struggle with each and every day. While other walking my path with me can lend me support, give me guidance and comfort, they can not fight the battles with or for me. I must work through it on my own. What I am forever grateful for is the love and support that those walking beside me give to me. I know that it is not an easy path for any of them either and that is a fact that often weights me down even more when I think about it. In some of those darkest moments, the thought always crosses through…. would their journey be easier without me? That is a question, a fear that we will never know until we make that final journey to the other side and our questions are answered.
In trying to sort through my sadness at the passing this most brilliant, and yet so troubled man who meant so much to so many people, I have had to confront my inner battles once again. I look on his passing with the great sadness of his leaving, I mourn his passing, and I shed tears for what I will miss about him. I can not help feeling though, that his death was not in vain, not an act of cowardice or what ever people who do not understand that most difficult choice want to label it as. His mind and his soul were so weary of the battles within that he felt he could not go on that one more step, face that one more fight. He gave so much to us through out his life, even while struggling with those inner battles, that he most likely struggled to find that source of peace being offered from the other side. It is not a matter of, He had so much to live for, not a matter of how selfish he was to leave a grief stricken family behind… he knew all of those things, but he also knew the overwhelming torture of his mind that he must battle every minute. He most likely knew too, the pain that his family lived constantly, watching him struggle with those battles and not be able to help him. He gave his light, his joy, his soul to us and in the end, he felt it was his time to leave. That was his choice and his last battle to fight, it was not a matter of winning or losing a battle but an end to an ongoing war within his mind. His death and his fight for peace in his soul means as much to us still struggling as his life did.
I could go on and on listing all of the great films he did and the lasting impressions he made with them. For me personally right now, there is one film that puts it all into perspective and describes the battle within better than any of my words could. That film is What Dreams May Come. For me, it was one of the most difficult films to watch and experience. His performance was as real and profound as the message of the story was.
So, while I struggle with my own personal thoughts and feelings, I just feel a need to say… Good bye to you, Robin Williams, may you find your peace now and Thank You for all that you shared with us during your time here.