Let Robin Williams rest with dignity

In the wake of Robin Williams’ tragic suicide he has been labeled by some as craven, but nothing about his death makes him a coward.

One of the obvious downfalls of being a celebrity is that everyone thinks they have you figured out. We, as the audience, see actors and comedians so many times playing the same roles that we think we know them. We believe we have them figured out. That the roles that they’re playing on a stage or a screen is the true reflection of who they are in their personal lives. The late, and great, Robin Williams was an icon for countless movie goers and comedic fans. Always a bustling, barely contained vessel of energy, as he bounced from persona to persona, often improvising as he went. Last week Williams decided to take his life, shattering the persona we had all created for him in our minds, leaving his wife and children to mourn his passing along with the rest of us. As in the case of suicides the loss has been met with outcries of cowardice and weakness, many claiming that Williams “gave up” rather than choosing to fight on in the face of whatever adversity encouraged his death. Nothing about Williams’ decision to end his own life is cowardly, and we need to accept that.

Williams’ widow, Susan Schneider, announced after his death that her late husband had been diagnosed with an early form of Parkinson’s disease. When this is taken into account with the depression that Williams had been battling for years it is understandable why he made the decision that he did. After the autopsy it was revealed that Williams was sober when he decided to go through with it, so no one can sit back and try to say that he wasn’t in his “right mind” when he did it. He made a conscious decision, as an adult, to end his own life rather than succumb to the debilitations of Parkinson’s. This is a decision that should be respected, not jeered at or labeled as cowardice. We are not members of the Williams family, no matter how badly we may wish to be;therefore, our opinions on the matter are moot. The world is a sadder, somber place without Williams in it, and this is something we are all going to have to live with as time moves on, but to discredit and smear his legacy and name because we are unhappy with his decision is not fair to the memory of the man who made us all laugh at one point in time.

To add insult to injury Williams’ daughter, Zelda Williams, made a decision this past week to leave social media for a time due to the harassment and disrespect being thrown her way due to her father’s decision to end his own life. Imagine you’ve just lost a loved one, a parent, and while mourning their death someone comes up to you and begins to jeer and poke at you. How well would you take this? If you were diagnosed with a terminal disease, something that would wear away at you throughout the coming years and render you incapable of taking care of yourself, would you want to endure such hardships if you didn’t have to? It is our prerogative, as human beings, to decide when enough is enough. Yes, there will be people left wondering “Why?” when all is said and done, and that is most likely something that Williams took into account before he made his decision, but it is not right for anyone to label him as a weakling simply because he decided to end his life on his own terms. If anything his decision took the utmost courage and discipline, not the opposite.