Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 8:45 AM

Robin Williams

I'm sure a lot of other people have been watching Robin Williams comedy the last couple of days. Some of it I hadn't seen before and is kickass. But it's now got a sad quality it didn't have before, because we know how the story ends.

My first reaction on hearing of his suicide was disbelief. I had been thinking about him just a few days ago, and thought it was remarkable that he brought such obvious joy to everything he did. Now I see that was just on the surface, that underneath it, he dealt with demons. Maybe they were the same demons we all face, maybe they were different. I immediately want to know his story. What were his parents like? Did they love him? I wonder. Williams might have been the most love-seeking person on the planet, the most demonstrative at proving he was worthy of love. How does a person develop that way? What was opposite his personality that it formed in such a way?

I've lost people close to me, and even with those it's very hard to get past the narcissist response, even when you're aware of it, and fighting it. I did that when my uncle died in 2003. After the initial shock I said to myself that I'm going to not make this about me. I couldn't. Same when my father died in 2009. Try as hard as you can, you don't know what the experience was. What his experience was in the last minutes of life. Was he aware of it? Did he decide to end it? How sad it must have been. To have a mind and know there was no future, that time had run out.

I still believe that no one wants to die. But I do know what it's like to be indifferent to life. I experienced it after my heart surgery in 2002. The recovery was so long, and required major changes in lifestyle, and without cigarettes to numb me out, I didn't know if I could deal with it. I guess I must have gotten over it, because the train is rolling again. I'm sure I'll be back there, before too long. I've had scares since, and I freak out just like I did back then.

People say that depressed people should speak out, but there's huge hypocrisy in that, for almost everyone. They don't really want to hear about your problems. There are too many people in the world, even too many people in a family, for there to be room for anyone to really make their struggles an issue for others.

The meaning we can take from all death is that the time to love is when we're living. After death it's not love anymore, it's some weird kind of fear of our own mortality. We can't love Robin Williams now, there is no more Robin Williams in this world. He's only a memory, and you can't get a hug from a memory, there's no inspiration in his life story, because he gave up. I can't even watch his comedy without thinking of the suffering it was masking. Maybe someday that will change, but I suspect, based on past experience that it won't.

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By Dave Winer, Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 8:45 AM. What a long strange trip it's been.