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Living is an act of courage


Jeremiah Michaels
Guest Columnist

  12 August 2014 - The headlines across the nation noted the death of a famed actor and comedian today.

 Robin McLaurin Williams (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014) was an American actor, comedian, film producer, and screenwriter.

   Now while this is notable news to the immediate family it is only nationally publicized news because of his celebrity gained from his television and movie roles. Many millions of people worldwide have roared out in laughter over his comedic routines and characters portrayed as well as felt the warmth of the serious roles he filled.

  Sadly, his death did not arrive at the end of a hard battled illness, broken body of lost youth grown old in mind and spirit and health. His death came at his own hand. While his death is most harshly felt amongst his family and closest of friends, we the general populous curiously ask, why? Why did he, he who seemingly had everything that the 15-minutes-of-fame-grabbing face-bookers strive to achieve, decide that living any longer was too painful or frightening to face? He ended his own life.

  This is an idea I haven’t grasped for myself. I, notwithstanding face strife in my own life, having lived in poverty and lived in a middle class, had periods of great grief and pain over lost loved ones and lost fortunes and homes. Yet, I did not, would not, or ever even think of doing something so rash as to end a problem by ending my own existence. No, I think possibly by some pain of fighting to survive a few times, maybe I saw the light of desire to live as long and full a life as possible. I could only surmise under the guise of today's movie madness that I could say in the zombie apocalypse – save the last round for yourself.

  As for his family I pass my condolences for their loss. I will remember his works and say easily thank you for the joy you brought to others through your works.

  Sadly, for me and the rest of the nation and those around the world who were shocked by the news of his death and more so by the means of it, I say farewell.

  In the realm of morbid curiosity the entertainment industry has already begun its exploitation of his death; ET, Entertainment Tonight, hurriedly put together a showcase event for this evening, reviewing his life, works, family and death.

  I will not dwell on his death because his weakness could spur feelings of inadequacy in others. If he who had so much can’t find the mental strength to live past the pain of his own self, what chance is there for the rest of us? His selfish act will be the burden of his family for the rest of their lives and their children’s lives. Recorded history lives on from five millenniums back, with only the last century on recorded video media. His life and death will live forever more. Weep not for him, but for his family because they are the ones who will suffer his passing.

  A member of my military unit committed suicide eight years ago. It wasn’t until after his death that I found out how truly remarkable he was. While working as a technician he held skills far above his position. An accomplished pilot with multi-engine jet licenses who occasionally rented planes to go flying, and an avid golfer and motorcyclist who would easily open up and chat about either subject, but deep within him a broken heart from a decade past, and a feeling of uncontrolled depression. Signs of depression not easily identified or treated. His family forever broken-hearted over the loss of a son. A unit whose members will forever remember him, not by something he did to save a life but by taking his own.

  Robin’s life and death will be rerun numerous times over the next months to include a bit on the next Oscars, of Stars we lost in 2014. But we didn’t lose him; his recorded themes will live on forever.

  Although my shipmate’s suicide didn’t make any national headlines, for me it will be remembered in the tears of his sisters and mother and father who struggled to find peace in a senseless death. Had he been killed in an auto accident or under enemy fire it would possibly have been easier to justify or accept than by his own hand.

   If you or someone you know has thoughts of suicide, please seek help.




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