I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least address the apparent suicide of Robin Williams. These statistics come from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):
- Number of deaths: 39,518
- Deaths per 100,000 population: 12.7
- Cause of death rank: 10
Those are per year numbers and given those numbers there are very few of us who have not been touched by suicide personally. When a celebrity commits suicide it shines a very public light on a very personal issue.
We can look at him and see his comic genius, his celebrity, his monetary wealth, his resources and his family. What we can’t see are the inner demons he has struggled with for years. No one — not even those closest to him — are privy to that particular information. We all keep secret our innermost thoughts and fears and pain. Some of us let them out drip by drip and others let them pour forth like lava…and then others never let them be known. Whether it’s depression or mental illness or addiction or any number of other reasons people contemplate suicide it is an internal, solitary struggle…no matter the help available in any form. I can’t help but think of the deep despair and pain he must have been in that suicide was his only option. That saddens me — both professionally and personally.
The world is a little less funny and a little less gifted today because he is gone from it. May his family and friends find the peace and support and comfort they’ll need to navigate through this.
Copyright 2014 Lisa B. Wolfe, Translating Grief, LLC