The recent death of Robin Williams has not seemed to spark as much debate as it should about suicide. But before I get into my thoughts on it, I want to say that losing anyone that is loved and provided happiness to people is a tragedy and loss that tops all other losses. Whether the death is expected or a surprise, it’s the worse part of being human and knowing we all have an expiration date. Even with the young kid in Ferguson, Missouri, you can say what you want about his behavior, what he was or wasn’t doing before being killed, but he was someone’s son. Someone’s friend. So for those reasons, it’s not wrong to feel sad about his death. Whether it was justified or not, I suppose it’ll be up to a court to decide if the police officer was acting within his rights as a defender and protector of the public. I have my opinions but getting back to the Robin Williams thing, I’m torn in half about it. It’s extremely sad that he, or anyone, felt that their only option, their best option, was to die. I can’t wrap my head around that sort of decision. Of course, there are scenarios where it could make more sense. Being held captive, being tortured or treated inhumanely, or giving your life so someone else can live. But I’d venture to say Robin wasn’t in a scenario like that.
What I’d like to see more in the media is, not so much a condemning, but a clear message that suicide is extremely selfish. It won’t make you more loved. People will miss you, yes, but think about what you’re doing to them. By escaping your own demons, you’re heaping a great amount of pain on to the few people you love. I can’t think of anything more selfish.
The news coverage of Robin’s death concerned me more than I expected, but my worry had nothing to do with Robin. It was in the wake of his death that so much love was displayed for him. Now let’s say someone struggling with feelings of being unloved and unwanted watches how the masses come out to praise Robin for the good he’s done. Celebrities, regular people, all come out of the woodwork to say how much they loved him. So what’s this person who’s feeling unloved going to think about taking their own life? “Wow, if I die, people will love me.” I sincerely hope that line of thinking won’t happen but it makes sense to me.
What I’d like to say to that person is this: suicide is the most cowardly, selfish, laziest, inhumane thing you can do, not to mention painful and dangerous. It shouldn’t even be the last option on your list. Don’t be like Robin in his death. If anything, be like him in his life. Care for other people, make them laugh, and love them more than you love yourself. That’s where Robin fell short. He didn’t realize taking the easy way out made it hard for everyone else.
-Out of the Wilderness