I've been just short of obsessing over Robin William's death. I've been teary and on the verge of crying since I read the news at 4:30 this afternoon.
Celebrities die. Why is this hitting me so hard?
I was a fan, but not a superfan. In fact, his über fast-paced stand up and out of control interviews sometimes even annoyed me. But I still liked him. His persona.
I never met him in person, but two people I do know posted separate stories about meeting him, and the time he spend talking with each of them. He sounded like a guy who really did care enough to listen, remember and make a connection with people he met. And then it hit me. He did that for everyone, whether we met him or not.
I think I'm feeling this so deeply, because for my generation in particular, we really did grow up with him. I was only 9 when Mork and Mindy exploded into American pop culture. I remember walking to school my first day of fourth grade with my neighbor friend, Julie Ann, both of us wearing rainbow suspenders, mine complimenting my Mork from Ork t-shirt. (My Dorothy Hamil haircut completed that lovely ensemble.)
He's been a part of film and entertainment practically my whole life. And not just someone out there in Hollywoodland, but an actively working A-lister.
Last year he was my workout buddy. I started recording his TV show "Crazy Ones". I would laugh so much watching it, I decided to save it for when I was on the treadmill. It would save my husband from my waking him from shaking the bed in laughter, and it would be a treat for me as incentive. Many times I would do extra time in order to watch another episode. Every time I would be that person in the gym, laughing out loud as I walked and ran, often having to jump on the rails so I wouldn't fall off.
And then beyond the entertainment is the depression. I battle it myself, and I understand how it can completely envelop you. There are still so many people who think it's just someone being very sad. Depression is real. It's more like sinking into a thick, dark grey mud of self doubt, self-loathing, apathy, sadness and failure that feels as it it's enveloping you slowly, but in reality swallows you up quickly and is reluctant to let you up to gasp for a breath.
I've been glad to see so many Suicide Prevention Hotline posts (1-800-273-8255) and more open talk about depression. But as I mentioned earlier on Facebook today, depressed people don't reach out. At least in my experience both personally and with friends I have who battle that lying monster, depressed people withdraw.
Reach out to your loved ones. Help them get help. When they don't answer their phone, text them. Again. Drop by with a note, a flower, a treat. Don't expect to stop by & visit - that's for you, not for them. But don't give up. Tell them how they matter. Even if they don't believe it, a part of them will. Eventually you will get through enough to crack through so they can grab onto the lifeline of that text, message or voicemail (yes, that is still a thing). When they do, be gentle but be relentless. Don't tell them to "let you know" if they need help. Ask how you can help. Offer your own suggestions. And don't be afraid to ask them if they are thinking of hurting themselves.
Friends, go love each other.