Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Death & Depression

My wife was putting kids to bed last night when I found out about Robin Williams.  I crept into the bedroom where she was laying down with the big girls and whispered to her that he died, presumably from suicide.  The big girls immediately wanted to know the details (they don't miss anything).

My wife told them, "The guy from Jumanji, the older guy." (They watched this with her last week.)

"The one with the gun?" my oldest asked.

"No, the one who got sucked into the game and then came back an older man," said my wife.

"Oh, Alan. That's his name.  Alan died.  How did he?"

Not wanting to get into a discussion about suicide at 9:00 at night, my wife just said he'd been sick.  I think we've briefly explained suicide before to them, and, unfortunately, I'm sure there'll be another chance to do it.

Besides, he was sick. By all accounts, he struggled with depression, and that's a sickness.  I know, because I've struggled with it as well.  It's something that can take you over, and even steal your very breath if you let it.

I remember feeling hopeless, alone, unable to see any good in the next moment.  Everything I loved seemed pointless. It was a dark, dark time.

I remember. It’s like a limp that stays with you.

And then, with each child of ours that we welcomed into the world, I saw the fragility and miracle of life.  They're not to be taken lightly, these lives that we call our own.  God gave them to us.

It's a lie that says it's not meaningful, and so it's good to struggle. It's good to fight for your life, even if it's against yourself.

I'm sorry about Robin Williams. He was a great comedian and actor, and by all accounts, a good man.  He just lost the fight.

I’m reminded of Samwise’s speech to Frodo in The Two Towers. Though it wasn’t about suicide, his encouragement still seems apropos, for it involves a similar struggle.

“But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.”

And if I had allowed depression to win when I was younger, I would’ve missed out on the five blessings that entered my life in the following years.

My 5 Blessings


  1. and beautiful blessings they are. well said.

  2. I understand the depression. It is a struggle but worth the fight. Focusing on others seems to be the cure. But there are levels...some can't.