Although I doubt you and I would have ever met face to face in this lifetime, I always held out a small glimmer of hope that we might. I watched you for years and laughed so hard sometimes that the exhaustion would carry from my jawbone all the way down to my sides. I know that I would have been a blubbering idiot if given the chance to share a moment with you. Sadly, although the odds were stacked against us ever being in the same immediate area, you guaranteed by ending your life that it would never come to pass.
People are in shock, Robin. They don’t understand how someone so funny and constantly upbeat could have been in so much pain inside. They don’t get it.
I do though. I get it. Although it may sound presumptuous of me to say that, I’m fairly confident that I get at least some of it.
I get that if you were frustrated that the best times of your career were behind you, it was easier to end things on your own terms, maybe on what you would consider a high point.
I get that if you were scared of suffering from Parkinson’s, you wanted to take care of yourself so nobody else had to when you could no longer.
I get that your addictions kept lurking around the corner, always looking for a weak moment to attack.
I get all that, I do. What I don’t understand is, as your daughter Zelda put it, why you “could be loved so deeply and not find it in his heart to stay”. No, you had no idea that I even existed out here but I grew up watching you, wishing I could be as funny and spontaneous. I knew that you were more than just one of our funniest guys; you were a force of nature in the comedy world. When I first saw you in a dramatic role, it was obvious that it wasn’t just comedy that you could dominate. Dead Poets Society and Awakenings both blew my teenaged mind. The movies didn’t necessarily (although they both are excellent films), but the fact that this funny man could put aside his mile-a-minute laugh factory persona and become a different actor entirely was a sight to behold.
This country has the oddest fixation on celebrities. Once you’ve reached a certain point in your popularity, you are relegated to almost an object to be admired, an object that doesn’t have feelings and doesn’t do anything other than keep the entertainment rolling. What most people don’t think about is the fact that the sensitivity to find humor in all of life’s inconsistencies is also the same sensitivity that can be damaged easily. To be sensitive is to be vulnerable.
All I ever was allowed to know of you was what I read in papers and heard in interviews. I would never assume to know any more because, as mentioned earlier, our paths had not crossed.
As the world moves on, and insecure people poke fun at a situation that they know little about, I wish I could tell you how much you meant to me and how much you will be missed. I too, suffer from putting on a happy face even when things are going on inside that don’t match up to the outward appearance. I have entertained the notion myself of ending things on my own terms several times through the years, but I enjoy life too much. There is so much in life worth sticking around for, even with the pain that comes and goes.
I know that death is coming for all of us, but I want to live life as long as I can and as fully as I can. I wish that you could have continued on, but I understand all too well that overwhelming sense of sadness.
I am fully aware that writing to someone who is no longer here would be considered a fruitless endeavor by many people, but your loss will be felt by so many more whose lives you brightened during your time with us.
Thank you for all the side splitting laughs and I pray your family finds peace during this difficult time.
A saddened lifetime fan
To anyone reading this, please don’t take your own life. You may think you’re alone but it’s not true. There are good people out there who are more than willing to lose sleep for you, to miss work for you, and do what they can to move mountains for your well-being. If you can’t find anyone, or don’t think you can, drop ME a line via email at crzydjm AT gmail
Let’s make it through together.