Like so many, I was saddened to tears to learn of Robin Williams’ “apparent” suicide. This comic and dramatic genius is now forever lost to us. Oh, there are the photos and the videos and his movies. We can always get our “fix” of Robin if we need it. What is lost to us is what still might have been. And of course, we have no idea because we are mere mortals whereas he was one-of-a-kind, set apart, which is what made him great and probably contributed to his self-torture. What we do know is that it would have made us laugh, or shocked us, or given us a new take on an old issue.
The line between genius and madness is often no line at all. I’d love to be around in 100 years when the brain has been more fully understood and mapped, and they can point to that part of the brain and say, “This is where genius lies. And guess what, this is also where madness lies.” Then it might all make sense, for someone so gifted to suddenly cut his (or her) life short.
I am mad at Mr. Williams because he knew better. And yet, in the privacy of his own self-defeating thoughts, and in a moment of isolation, where the idea of asking for help was perhaps just beyond reach, he snuffed his own light out. I’m willing to forgive and to understand, as I have with my own son. We cannot know another’s mind.