Robin Williams, Legacy, and Your Response

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness  (c)2014 Nancy Virden

streets of new york at night

Death by suicide.

I remember when I first heard the news. It was 1977 and Freddie Prinz had just ended his life.  I was shocked, horrified, stunned, and began to wonder why.

How could someone so young, talented, and filled with potential not see his happy future? I felt I’d lost a friend even though  he was an actor who played a role I enjoyed on television.

I was young too, and his suicide caused me to think about the value of my life. I was not majorly depressed at that time or perhaps I could have fallen victim to copycat suicide. I don’t know. What I do know is that this scene has played itself out on the world stage numerous times before and since.

Freddie Prinz’s legacy changed in the moment he died. From that day he became “that young guy who was so funny, and killed himself.” He is now Freddie Prinz, the suicide instead of Freddie Prinz, funny man.

Anyone who has experienced the genius of Robin Williams knows he was a funny man. The world is touting his successes tonight. He made powerful movies and amusing television shows, and will be forever Mork.

Listen though to the follow-up.  He will be also be known as Robin Williams, suicide.

Some people are responding in despair to his death. Having been on hospital psych wards, I can promise you the news is hot there. Each patient will have to weigh inside his or her damaged spirit the value of life. Some will see the waste of suicide and rise up a little stronger, more determined to leave behind a positive legacy.

What will be your reaction? If you are stable emotionally, you may be sad, disappointed, and grieve. If you are unstable at this time, it may be a good idea to reach out for added support.

I see my second and third chances as opportunities to create the legacy I want to leave for my children and corner of the world. I want people to be able to say, “Oh yeah, she was that woman who made a difference.”  Period.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.


NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

*picture from qualitystockphotos


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