Columns - Features

Robin Williams: R.I.P.


We watch off as it happens again. Another familiar name that stared out from the telly or from the posters is gone. We’ve trained ourselves to observe these passings like a spectator sport, another body of work coming to end without a second thought for the families and friends left behind. We tell ourselves that people die around the world everyday in war and famine, accuse others of bandwagoneering, and in some sort of perverse way, these people are almost rationalised away as casualties of a full life, rewarded with infinite adulation. A name and a face on a wall. An entity to be analysed and a memorial to be unveiled posthumously. We spend our lives in each other’s trajectories, and we don’t tell each other we’re appreciated until it’s too late.

This one hurts. This one of all.

Very few of us have ever met Robin Williams, yet all of us have been to some degree touched by the humanity evident in his work, be it his comic and dramatic mastery at his peak, or his innate genius for children’s cinema. A man with a gift, one to captivate and hold millions around the world in wonder. A man, a human. With the same trouble as the rest of us, but a beloved man who had the common touch on and off-screen by all accounts. A man so unafraid to doff his cap to pop-culture he named his daughter after his favourite videogame, and so full of life and humility in his artistic output. He brought laughter and smiles and wonderment to us all. A magic man who could address the masses and reach the individual. A man whose life was a gift, suddenly gone.

Depression is a horrible, grey, unspeakable thing. It robs us of people. It robs people of their ability to see that people love them and value them, be it the person in private, or the public legacy the person leaves the world. And it’s taken one person who gave so much laughter and joy to so many, who brightened so many days with a widening of his eyes or a funny voice, who lifted others’ palls without so much as a second thought to his craft.

It’s not fucking fair.

It can happen to any of us. It can be taken away from us at any time. If you ever feel like taking your life, if it ever feels like too much, please stop reading this and speak to someone. You could be someone’s Robin Williams and not even know it.

If you or someone close to you is experiencing emotional difficulties, please call The Samaritans for a free, non-judgemental and confidential ear to listen.

The Samaritans (Northern Ireland): 08457 90 90 90
The Samaritans (Ireland): 116 123

Contributor, distributor & occasional Cork correspondent for The Thin Air, as well as, Cork's Evening Echo and others. Likes some things, dislikes other things. Tweets, Instagrams and Snapchats at @mike_mcgb.