That man was more of a Father figure than my own, sadly. The movies I saw as a child filled in much of the need I had for my own father, especially Mrs. Doubtfire and Hook. I watched those many more times than I can count, and still do. Seeing Robin Williams as Peter Pan made my imagination soar to new heights. If Peter Pan could grow up and still be able to fly, I could do anything!
I watched Mork and Mindy, Happy Days, Toys and so many more. I first saw Robin Williams in Popeye. I watched the syndicated cartoon and loved this real-life version. I remember watching several documentary-like shows about him and some of his stand up. I love Robin Williams. I loved him in Bicentennial Man and What Dreams May Come even though it had terrible ratings. I loved the idea in Bicentennial Man of being able to change yourself if only given the opportunity to learn how. I loved him in Jack. He could be the big kid that he really was. Good Morning, Vietnam is where he first made me laugh at his jokes and where I first saw him fall in love. It is where I saw a glimpse of what my Father went through during the Vietnam War/Conflict. I still have the soundtrack to the movie. Dead Poet’s Society is where I began to understand and learn to enjoy grammar and language, not be afraid of writing to express myself. Patch Adams made me laugh, more of a hopeless romantic, but reminded that the best of intentions cannot always help those who do not want to be helped or save them when it is too late.
It is a terrible loss to the World this brilliant man so full of life and heart. He gave so much. I know he has been battling depression for years. It is never easy to deal with depression, even medicated and surrounded by love ones.
As someone who nearly committed suicide, I sadly understand why people do.
They cannot think of any reason no to. They honestly believe that their family, their friends, and the World would be better off without them. When that nevertrue!
I remember that night in January 2012. It was just another day for me in a dead end job many weeks after my Mother died, losing to her fourth fight with cancer. My depression made me so apathetic at home as much I kept trying but not succeeding.
I was so desperately focused on the future-that-would-never-be-with-my Mother–my best friend; the Grandmother of my then two year-old son (the only grandson in my family) and future children who will never know her like I did. The children who would never hear her stories of traveling to Israel and living on a kibbutz many summers; traveling on a missionary trip in the 1970s to the Philippines and being the first white woman that most villagers saw treating her like an alien from outer space; or another missionary trip to Japan and not being allowed to use the word “God” while explaining the Faith. Her stories of Lola’s nose (job) in comparison to my many craniofacial reconstructive surgeries to repair my cleft lip and sub-mucous cleft palate. They would never hear her read The Napping House to them or Winnie the Pooh. They would never hear laugh or see her gapped-tooth smile that I loved–it always reached her eyes, twinkling. They would never see her silly puppet theatre productions or make puppets with her.
I would never hear her tone deaf version of “Happy Birthday” or hear her say “I love you, Sweets,” or call me “Sweetums” just like from Sesame Street. Hear her sing songs that Kermit sings–she loved Kermit the frog. My child(ren) would never have the goal to be taller than my Mother–who was four foot eight inches (4′ 8″) when she died–as they grew older, just like I did as a child. She would never be at any of the births or hold any of my future children. No more pictures with them. There was so much change and loss and where-do-I-go-from-here’s. I was so confused and in so much pain. I wanted my Mother to hold me. I wanted to feel her soft, velvet skinned arms around me and lay my head on her bosom as she comforted me; no one can replace her or feel like her. I felt guilty because I wanted her to die as much as I wanted her to live. I was so exhausted watching the cancer sap her strength and energy. It was so miserable to watch this practical “superhero” be drained of all life from this thing inside her that no one could stop or fix with the limitations in place. Watching her never able to eat again or drink even water. Watching her stuck to this backpack hooked up to a port at her clavicle (collarbone). Never being able to eat a meal with her. It hurt so much when she was alive suffering.
I also wanted more time with her. I wanted to go back in time, quit my job, kick out my siblings from her house when she wanted, and move my family into her house with my Stepdad just so I could spend more time with her, take care of her, go with her to her doctor appointments. I prayed that the Doctor (Doctor Who) was real and would let me spend one more day with her before the illness took away her true mobility and freedom, just like in A.I, I would record her voice as she told her stories, read my favorite childhood books and her laughter. So I could get everything tangible to be able to share her heart and soul with the world. So she could live forever, even if it were in pieces.
All the while trapped within my grief, my wonderful, loving, hardworking husband was trying so hard to pick up the slack on top of his usual 60-hour work week and making dinner every night. He tried keeping the house clean, doing the dishes, taking out the trash, feeding the pets, washing and putting away the laundry, and so forth. I just did what I could get away with, bathing our son and “watching” tv with him. I was absorbed in my grief. I did not see him crumbling under the strain. He confided in me that he didn’t get the Fellowship and he could not keep this up. He needed me to do more, try harder. I just nodded and agreed.
As I did the dishes that night, I planned my death. I planned to take our “security system” (a shot gun with buck shot) and take it with me out to the woods on the other side of the complex. I continued to clean up the kitchen and progressed in my plans. I did a load of laundry that night too. After all the cleaning and my son’s bath, we did our usual bedtime ritual of watch tv, our son sleeping in our bed at this time. Once they fell asleep, I got dressed and was about to go in our closet but decided to go out front instead waiting a bit to make sure that our son remained asleep–he sometimes woke up when I got out of bed. I wrote an email to my husband explaining why. I needed him to know that it wasn’t his fault.
It was during that time that I sat on the couch and I imagined my husband and son’s lives once I was dead. I imagined the funeral. The additional death that my surviving siblings and stepdad had to endure. I didn’t worry about them though. We were not on good terms and I did not see that changing in the near future at that time. I watched my son grow up having never known me personally, only through pictures and writings or stories of me. I watched my husband who would become cold and distant but tried his best for our son. I saw my husband grieve knowing that he would never do what I did so he would remain with our child. I saw his mom staying with him and our son for weeks. I saw him move down to the coast where his parents were and they would help raise him. I saw my husband remain alone. I saw my son grow up and angry at me for leaving him. I saw his heart break with the realization that he was not important enough for me to endure. I saw my husband’s heart break realizing that I thought he could live without me when he would only survive.
It took a few minutes to sink in then I was so confused. I began pacing and paused next to the kitchen bar counter. Suddenly, I collapsed in silent, gut-wrenching sobs. My heart cried out into the darkness, into the night begging for help, for relief of my broken heart. A broken heart I never had until my Mother died.
I prayed and begged and pleaded for God to help me. I prayed, begging for anyone who could hear me to help me, for any prophet, manifestation, or angel to please help me. I was so lost. I just hurt. I tried crawling to the bedroom to get my husband but could barely move. I was so overcome by and overwhelmed with grief. I just hurt. My heart hurt and that hurt radiates throughout my entire body.
It hurt so much that I could not change anything. It hurt to know there were no more plans with my Mom. That my son, my only son, her only grandchild who she absolutely loved and adored would never know her. I pleaded into the darkness begging for anyone to help. Finally, I prayed to my Mom. I prayed her to help me, to help me live, to help me be and do what I am supposed to. I just sobbed, barely audible, lying on the old carpeted floor of our three bedroom apartment, lost in grief.
At some point in the night, I calmed down enough to pick up the shattered pieces of myself just enough to walk back to bed, put my pj’s back on, and slide into bed. I wrapped myself around my son and held on to my husband as he slept. I cried in shame then.
I was so ashamed at my intent. I felt that I was about to commit an act again God. I wanted to be with my Mother so much that it didn’t matter if I would be further away from her–not on the same level, per se, in the Abha kingdom (Heaven) as her. I cried myself to sleep.
Depression, anxiety, and grief are not meant to be handled alone. They are meant to be battled together with friends, family, and loved ones. Depression and anxiety are so difficult at times, even if or when medicated. Medicine does not fix depression and anxiety or grief; it helps you manage them better and to allow you to learn how to handle them in a healthy way, such as writing, exercise, martial arts, tai chi, music, drawing. Grief, however, is not the same as depression!
Life is never worth taking. It is always worth improving and bettering. It took me hours that night to remember that. It is something that I have embraced since. I try my best every day; that is all anyone can ask of you. Life is a lesson to be learned by living and making mistakes.
We are supposed to make mistakes. It’s how we learn.
My Father taught me that.