“No matter what people tell you,
words and ideas can change the world.”
For the past three decades I have kept a writing journal. These beautifully decorated covered journals consisted of my daily activities as well as my thoughts and ideas. I also carry in my purse a small hardcover note journal for special moments.
It was an unusually beautiful Friday evening in early March 1996. That evening, my husband and son wanted to see a movie. We all agreed to see Robin Williams new movie, The Birdcage. We are big Robin Williams fans of his humor and movies, so we jumped in the car and headed for the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.
After enjoying the movie, we exited the theatre, still laughing from numerous scenes in the movie. My young son wanted to visit his favorite Promenade toy store, The Puzzle Zoo. I dislike going into that store, because it is way too crowded for my claustrophobic nature. So, my husband handed my son some money, and we patiently waited outside the store for my son.
About twenty minutes later, my son exited the store with a bag and ran up to me to show me what he had bought. As I was inspecting the bag, my son grabbed my shirt and was tugging at my sleeve saying, “Mom, Mom, look, it’s Robin Williams.” I looked up and saw Robin Williams briskly walking by with an entourage of body guards. I grabbed my son’s hand and started running towards Mr. Williams.
As I got up next to him, I said, “Excuse me, Mr. Williams. My son just saw and loved your movie, Birdcage and he would love to get your autograph.”
Robin Williams stopped, looked at me, then he looked down at my son and with a smile asked my son, “What’s your name?”
My son just froze in his tracks. Unable to answer or say his own name. Starstruck and excited that he was looking at Robin Williams, I realized that my son couldn’t even speak. So I whipped out my small note journal book from my purse along with a pen, handed it to Robin Williams and told him my son’s name. He wrote in my book and handed it back to me. I thanked him as he quickly disappeared with his entourage in tow.
My son was so excited when I handed him the autographed book. That’s all he could talk about on the drive home and for days later. As the years passed, my son as well as our family would talk about that day I got Robin Williams autograph. We continued to enjoy Robin Williams’ humor in movies, television and on talk shows.
On August 11th last year, my son called me to ask if I had heard what happened to Robin Williams? “No,” I said “What happened to him?” He sounded upset and said, “turn on the television.” I was home, so I turned on the news. My son then asked me if I still had the book? I told him I did. My son and I talked about Robin Williams and he couldn’t understand why he would kill himself.
I don’t think any of us will understand why someone who is talented, loved, admired and universally successful would kill themselves. No one can truly understand the pain and torture each of us goes through or can endure. Unfortunately, we learn how bad someone is feeling much too late. Robin Williams death is just one of hundreds of thousands of suicides that take place every year. His was so poignant because he was a public figure and because we all felt that we knew him or who he truly was.
We all never really know someone or what someone is capable of doing. Often, even those nearest and dearest can become a stranger or someone we never knew. That’s why it’s important for everyone to be kind and gentle to everyone. We must have compassion for everyone.
You just never know when something that you say or do to someone could really push them over the edge. An edge so dark and deep that to that one person, can become the point of no return.