“You – you alone will have the stars as no one else has them … In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night … You – only you – will have stars that can laugh” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, is my favorite book. Ever. The entire book has so much depth and meaning and passion. It has, for as many years as I can remember, been my working definition of friendship and unconditional love. And I cannot think of a more perfect quote for anyone to use regarding Robin Williams’ untimely and tragic death.
But especially coming from his daughter, Zelda Rae. According to ABC News, she tweeted that quote for her dad at 11:12 pm last night. Below it she simply stated “I love you. I miss you. I’ll try to keep looking up. Z” And so I started crying again. She clearly inherited her father’s genius. She reached right into my soul and ripped my heart out with that quote. God bless her, and all of the Williams family! My heart goes out to them.
Obviously, I never met Robin Williams, or even saw him perform live. But like everyone in my generation and those that followed, I grew up with him. He was Mork from Ork, after all! (Maybe that’s why I have this thing for aliens!!) I raised my children watching his movies, like Flubber, Jumanji, Aladdin, and more. We all quote him from time to time.
Yes, I knew he had drug and alcohol issues. I do happen to know a lot about that, unfortunately. And, I know more than I ever wanted to about depression, and how devastating it can be. Depression is a real thing, a powerful and all-consuming force. Drugs and alcohol are just symptoms, tips of the iceberg. They are not the cause. And apparently it can seduce one of the most gifted, amazing, funny people to ever live into taking his own life. Dear God.
I couldn’t stop crying after my son texted me and gave me the news. I’ve been grieving collectively with the whole world, best I can tell on the Internet. Everyone loved him. We are all in shock. All of us feel like we’ve lost a beloved family member. Hell, even the statement released by the White House made me cry:
“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets. The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin’s family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams.”
As did the tweet by the Academy of Motion Pictures:
“Genie, you’re free.”
I understand that suicide is not a good choice. It is never a choice made by anyone who feels that that have other options. And I while I understand those who are in disagreement with the idea of suicide granting freedom, I choose to accept the Academy’s tweet in the spirit it was intended. They’re not encouraging suicide! They’re merely acknowledging that Robin’s demons cannot torment him here anymore.
I offered up my rosary intentions for Robin and his family last night. And yes, I know that it’s commonly taught (and therefore believed) that the Catholic Church regards suicide as a mortal sin. So I really want to address this. Because the Church does not claim to know the heart of the person at the time of death. Only God can know that for certain. Here is exactly what the Catechism of the Church teaches, specifically, about suicide:
2282 . . . Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.
2283 We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.
So, yes. I offered up my Rosary for Robin. And I will continue to offer my love and prayers for him and his family, as I know many of us are doing. Please don’t judge. Let us remember Robin in the way that I think he would have wanted us to remember him: funny, loving, genuine. My son and I are planning on doing a Robin Williams movie marathon. We are going to wrap ourselves in the comforting and lasting legacy that he left to each of us on film.
Thank you, Robin, for the memories! Thank you for being our Laughing Star. We love you!!!!