August 13, 2014

I Also Grieve

Like most others out there I am feeling sad for the loss we all experienced on Monday. I even feel a sort of guilt that he gave us so much joy while he was suffering so deeply inside. I hope that the joy he gave us was some sort of solace for him during his life. 

I know there are many controversies over whether his suicide is selfish or not. Even FOX News called him a coward on Monday. I'm with, I think, the majority in disagreeing with those type of statements. Rachel from With Love, Rachel did a great job talking about this in her post today. Yesterday, my sister, who has battled depression throughout her adult life posted a link that also talks about how suicide is not something that should be treated as selfish. Both people explain how depression is an illness like any other physical illness you need medical attention for. Unless you've experienced that illness for yourself it is hard to understand what the person is going through. I suggest you read both links. 

I was in the lunch room at work when a co-worker asked me if I had heard about it. At first I hoped he was joking and that it was a hoax like the many you see online. Unfortunately we saw that it was not. 

The first thing that came to mind was a poem that my mom had memorized and recited to me often (mostly because I requested her to). The poem is in Spanish, written by Mexican Author Juan de Dios Peza

I'll copy it here in Spanish and the English translation that my sister created a while back. I suggest you read it, it fits perfectly with Robin and his life and ultimate death.


Viendo a Garrick -actor de la Inglaterra-
el pueblo al aplaudirlo le decía:
“Eres el más gracioso de la tierra,
y más feliz…” y el cómico reía.

Víctimas del spleen, los altos lores
en sus noches más negras y pesadas,
iban a ver al rey de los actores,
y cambiaban su spleen en carcajadas.

Una vez, ante un médico famoso,
llegóse un hombre de mirar sombrío:
sufro -le dijo-, un mal tan espantoso
como esta palidez del rostro mío.

Nada me causa encanto ni atractivo;
no me importan mi nombre ni mi suerte;
en un eterno spleen muriendo vivo,
y es mi única pasión la de la muerte.

-Viajad y os distraeréis. -¡Tanto he viajado!
-Las lecturas buscad. -¡Tanto he leído!
-Que os ame una mujer. -¡Si soy amado!
-Un título adquirid. -¡Noble he nacido!

-¿Pobre seréis quizá? -Tengo riquezas.
-¿De lisonjas gustáis? -¡Tantas escucho!
-¿Qué tenéis de familia? -Mis tristezas.
-¿Vais a los cementerios? -Mucho… mucho.

-De vuestra vida actual ¿tenéis testigos?
-Sí, mas no dejo que me impongan yugos:
yo les llamo a los muertos mis amigos;
y les llamo a los vivos, mis verdugos.

Me deja -agrega el médico- perplejo
vuestro mal, y no debe acobardaros;
tomad hoy por receta este consejo
“Sólo viendo a Garrick podréis curaros”.
-¿A Garrik? -Sí, a Garrick… La más remisa
y austera sociedad le busca ansiosa;
todo aquel que lo ve muere de risa;
¡Tiene una gracia artística asombrosa!
-¿Y a mí me hará reír? -¡Ah! sí, os lo juro;
Él sí; nada más él; más… ¿qué os inquieta?
-Así -dijo el enfermo-, no me curo:
¡Yo soy Garrick!… Cambiadme la receta.

¡Cuántos hay que, cansados de la vida,
enfermos de pesar, muertos de tedio,
hacen reír como el actor suicida,
sin encontrar para su mal remedio!

¡Ay! ¡Cuántas veces al reír se llora!
¡Nadie en lo alegre de la risa fíe,
porque en los seres que el dolor devora
el alma llora cuando el rostro ríe!

Si se muere la fe, si huye la calma,
si sólo abrojos nuestra planta pisa,
lanza a la faz la tempestad del alma
un relámpago triste: la sonrisa.

El carnaval del mundo engaña tanto,
que las vidas son breves mascaradas;
aquí aprendemos a reír con llanto,
y también a llorar con carcajadas.

To Laugh While Crying

Watching Garrik – an actor from England -
the people would say applauding:
“You are the funniest one on earth
and the happiest one…”
And the comedian would laugh.

Victims of melancholy, the highest lords,
during their darkest and heaviest nights
would go see the king of actors
and change their melancholy into roars of laughter.

Once, before a famous doctor,
came a man with eyes so somber:
“I suffer – he said -, an illness so horrible
as this paleness of my face”

“Nothing holds any enchantment or attractiveness;
I don’t care about my name or my fate
I die living an eternal melancholy
and my only hope is that of death”.

- Travel and distract yourself
- I’ve traveled so much!
- Search for readings
- I’ve read so much!
- Have a woman love you
- But I am loved
- Get a title
- I was born a noble

- Might you be poor?
- I have richnesses
- Do you like compliments?
- I hear so many!
- What do you have as a family?
- My sadness
- Do you go to the cemeteries?
- Often, very often.

- Of your current life, do you have witnesses?
- Yes, but I don’t let them impose their burdens;
I call the dead my friends;
I call the living my executioners.

- It leaves me – added the doctor – perplexed
your illness and I must not scare you;
Take today this advise as a prescription
only watching Garrik you can be cured.

-Yes, Garrik… The most indolent
and austere society anxiously seeks him;
everyone who sees him, dies of laughter;
he has an amazing artistic grace.

- And me? Will he make me laugh?
-Ah, yes, I swear it;
he and no one but him; but… what disturbs you?
-So  – said the patient – I won’t be cured;
I am Garrik! Change my prescription.

How many are there who, tired of life,
ill with pain, dead with tedium,
make others laugh as the suicidal actor,
without finding a remedy for their illness!

Ay! How often we laugh when we cry!
Nobody trust the merriment of laughter,
because in those beings devoured by pain,
the soul groans when the face laughs!

If faith dies, if calm flees,
if our feet only step on thistles,
the tempest of the soul hurls to the face,
a sad lighting: a smile.

The carnival of the world is such a trickster,
that life is but a short masquerade;
here we learn to laugh with tears
and also to cry with laughter.

Vodka and Soda


  1. I totally agree. People who call suicide a selfish act just don't understand the mental illness. What happened to Robin Williams is so heartbreaking :(.

  2. I cannot believe some people are calling this selfish. Suicide is not selfish. If it is selfish, so is living for people not suffering. I am so sad over the loss we all experienced, but mostly for his loved ones. This must be so hard for them, and the last thing they need is some stupid idiots in the media making this any less than what it is - a heartbreaking loss.

  3. To be honest, for the most part I think suicide is selfish but I think it's also one of the bravest things someone can do. I don't have that many grey areas in life but this is one of them that I do.

  4. I'm sad that he's gone. I really liked his movies.