It’s hard to believe that it has already been a year since Robin Williams left us. He touched so many hearts (and earned an Oscar) with his performances in movies such as Dead Poets Society, Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Morning, Vietnam and Good Will Hunting. It was so a shock to many that someone so vibrant and energetic could be suffering so profoundly on the inside but, sadly, that is a common occurrence with depression.
Along with the mental illness, he struggled with addiction and a form of dementia before taking his life on August 11, 2014. It was a loss for the entertainment industry and his fans but, of course, it was a devastating blow to his family and loved ones.
His son Zak, 32, told People: “We try to focus on the joyful moments and memories. We’re moving through the process of healing and recovering.” He added that he depends on the support of “wonderful family and friends” to cope with his grief. Zak also carries on his father’s legacy of giving back to the community by teaching financial literacy to inmates in San Quentin State Prison.
Williams would have turned 64 on July 21 and his other children, Zelda, 26, and Cody, 23, observed the occasion privately. Zelda took to Instagram to explain that she would be taking a day away from social media and explained: “It’s a time better served away from the sentiments or opinions of others.” Indeed, many people who have a limited understanding of depression and suicide had negative things to say after the actor’s death and it was very hurtful to his family.
The comedian is also being remembered for his kind heart. Longtime friend, Bobcat Goldthwait, believes that he could not have created the upcoming documentary, Call Me Lucky, without Williams’ support or financial contributions. The film aims to fight child pornography. Goldthwait said: “This movie would not have gotten made, or been what it is, without Robin’s support and influence. His generosity and kindness are well known… We never got off the phone without saying, ‘I love you,’ so I know that’s the last thing he and I said to each other. It’s strangely starting to feel like I’m only processing it now.”
It’s not surprising that Williams’ loved ones might feel that way. Most people must go through several stages of grief before finally accepting their loss.
This very sad one-year anniversary does highlight the importance of reaching out to those who may be experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts. If you or someone you know needs support, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website or call 1-800-273-8255. Services are available in both English and Spanish, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.