An interesting thing… as I’ve been watching and reading all the tributes and tweets and online outpouring regarding Robin Williams’ death, it surprised me to see how much he’d aged since I last saw him. Which was when exactly? Probably last year, a Pinterest post of a Whose Line? segment from 2000 or 2001. I just looked through IMDB. The last film of his that I watched was Bicentennial Man. That was fifteen years ago. My point, I guess, is that his death strikes me so personally and yet I haven’t “engaged” with him in years.
So tell me, why was I, rather why am I a wreck? My attention to his death is disconcerting. I don’t know, but I may have crossed a line. I am grieving his loss as much… no, even more than I did when my father died. In terms of emotional display, at the very least.
As usual, I hear all of the big news on Facebook. The Japan earthquake and tsunami of 2011, for example, was big news. The one on August 11, 2014? Bigger. Is that what’s going on? Am I picking up on a global sorrow? The ripple effect of waves of grief?
I suppose that’s part of it.
When I lived in London, I watched the dinner-hour newscast regularly. I can vividly recall one program when the co-anchor announced the death of anchorman Neil Stevens. He had apparently fallen asleep at the wheel of his car and crashed into a tree.
I was incredibly upset by the news even though I didn’t have any connection or particular fondness for the guy. As I recall, his delivery was dry as dust. A couple of nights after that broadcast, the news station aired a special segment related to viewer response to Steven’s death. They ran an interview with a therapist who talked about how some people might be more upset by Stevens’ accident than they felt “normal.” She went on to say that these viewers are likely responding to a past emotion that has been triggered by Steven’s accident, not emotion directly related to his death.
I was enormously grateful for that bit of therapy. This was in 1987, a year after my mother had died.
But, back to August 2014. What’s up with my reaction to Robin Williams dying? I can’t put my finger on the trigger, so to speak.
Pretty much every post/blog/tweet/video mentions depression and addiction. I am cyber and “real” life friends and/or acquaintances with people who know depression and addiction. I know depression and addiction enough to be very frightened for how many people out there, people who I know and like or love, people who might be inclined to follow Robin.
This is day two of wall-to-wall Williams. It’s scaring me a little, how obsessed I’ve become. Of course, if I unplugged the modem, my problems would be solved.
Tags: Robin Williams