A couple of nights ago I was still seeing Robin Williams links and mentions in my Facebook news feed, so I got to wondering. Why did he do it? Why did he end his life THAT WAY on THAT DAY? Why not next week? Or next year? Why suicide? Why not an accident? Cancer? Why did he not live out his life and die an old man, well-lived? Of course we all have these questions. We humans are meaning-making machines.
We always want to know the WHY.
The answer that came back when I asked my why was simple.
Because it was time. Because this was his final gift to the world. Because we are ready for the conversations we are now having as a result. Because life doesn’t end in death, and how grand is it to take a step back, widen our perspective up away from our little lives and see the perfection in every moment — including this one.
I know, maybe this is wishful thinking on my part. We like things wrapped up neatly into nice packages of meaning, and I am no different. I know, too, that this message presupposes a belief that something about us lives on after we die. I know not everyone believes that. And I know that for some, the idea of ending one’s own life — this precious gift! — is so abhorrent that the ideas of perfection and suicide can’t possibly coexist.
I do not mean to trivialize his death. A man is dead and I wish he wasn’t. His family grieves. This can’t possibly feel like a gift to them right now, if ever.
But still, I offer you this:
How has YOUR life changed since you heard Robin Williams killed himself? What thoughts have you thought? What conversations have you had? What resolutions — large or small — have you made? To hug your children tighter? To make every moment count? To reach out to someone you know is hurting? To be kinder to the impatient person behind you in line for your morning coffee? To find deeper meaning in your life that gives you the strength to keep waking up in the morning?
Trust me, your life has changed in some way because of Robin Williams’ death. And THAT is his gift.