The recent death of Robin Williams has devastated me. To me, he was the personification of humor. There are so many of his roles and movie lines that have been ingrained in my psyche. They have helped shape the person I have become today and the realization that his humor was a mask for his depression is debilitating.
Perhaps his death has made me look back on my life. Just maybe his struggle has touched a nerve in my reality that has long been buried. Depression was never an issue for me but the feeling of inadequacy was certainly in the forefront of my brain as a I struggled through my teenage years. My sense of humor was a God-send. It helped me extend myself beyond the boundaries of my comfort zone. It allowed me to engage my peers in a way I felt comfortable. And it gave me a way to reach out to others with the feeling that I had the safety net of laughter.
Many times the person who is making the jokes is trying to keep the focus as far from reality as possible. They painstakingly go to great lengths to keep you laughing so you don’t focus on the issues they deal with between the laughs. They diffuse their reality with comedy but the joke, sadly, is on them.
I go to bed tonight with a heavy heart. I grieve for the man who could not win the battle against his demons. I solemnly remember the teenage version of myself who was thankfully able to quell the monsters who lurked in the dark corners of my mind and find more solace in the laughter than perhaps he could.
I can only hope that Robin Williams is finally finding the peace that he so truly deserves. The world will never be as funny now as it was when he was in it.
(image credit: bu.edu)