What If….

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Everyone seems to want to be an expert on suicide since the tragic loss of Robin Williams this week.
I carefully read blogs and articles on the internet, even found myself watching CNN to hear the famous Doctors and  psychologist give their professional opinion on what could have possibly happened the months, days and hours leading up to the horrific minute that Robin Williams decided to take his own life.   Alcoholism,  drugs, depression, even Parkinson’s disease may have all played into the decisions that lead to his death.
I read a controversial blog this week from one of my favorite christian bloggers that stated Robin Williams was selfish for taking his own life.
SELFISH.  Hmmmm…..
While scrolling through Facebook, I read a friend’s post that stated “Am I the only one who doesn’t feel sorry for Robin Williams?  He was a selfish man.  He had fame, fortune, popularity…..what more could anyone ask for?”   That post just about sent me over the edge.

Hmmm……well…I just can’t even comment on such an insane post.

I’m not saying Robin Williams was a happy person, and addict, depressed,  or sick  because I honestly have no idea.  I did not know this man personally,  as many of the people who wrote comments about him being a selfish man didn’t know him either. 

We live in a society where people are so eager to point fingers at other people’s lives as if they have no skeletons in their own closet.   Where people are happy to see even their own friends and family fail,  as long as it doesn’t interfere with their own less than perfect lives.

Here’s my take on Selfish.

True Story:
A few years ago, one of the greatest men I ever knew took his own life.  Put a bullet in his heart.
His heart.
I knew a little about his heart.   (It was huge!)
He was a kind, talented, well respected man and everyone that knew him loved him.
He made people beautiful.  He taught people how to make others beautiful.  He made us watch endless Self-help videos to make us better stylists,  better professionals as well as better human beings.   He taught me to listen….really listen to people.   He gave me courage.  Showed me tough love.  And at the end of the day after working over 12 hrs on my feet, I went home feeling like a million bucks!!!

I’ll never forget the phone call.   I could barely make out the words that came pouring out of my ex co-workers mouth.   “He’s gone.  He killed himself!”     No….this can’t be.  He was the strongest person I knew.
In the years leading up to his tragic death, he had his fair share of difficulties.   After I got married and moved away, I heard that he was facing many demons.  Alcoholism Divorce. A failed business that was once the most popular business in the state of WV, people came from everywhere to see him.  

I went to visit him only once after I left.   My daughter was around 2 or 3 years old at the time.   He loaded her up with suckers and soda. Gave her hugs and kisses. Even showed me pictures of his grandchildren.
But what he said as I was leaving still resonates in my mind almost every day….when you (and another stylist) left, the laughter went with you.  The smiles and the constant chatter is gone.   I miss you.  If you ever want to come back, there will always be a place for you here.
As I hugged him goodbye, as well as a couple of regular clients, I walked out of there not knowing that would be the last time I would see him alive.

I heard about his failing health due to his addiction,  his business was going under and his clientele was almost non-existent.  

I drove by all the time when I came home on the weekends to visit my folks.  I wanted to stop,  but I never did.   Then one morning, while feeding the kids breakfast I got the phone call.

He’s Gone.

Never did I think of him as Selfish.  Sure, I felt bad for his family,  his grand babies,  the endless friends and colleagues he left behind.
Do I think Alcoholism is selfish?  In a way I guess.   But I can’t judge, because (thank God) I’ve never been there.  

I can’t tell you what it’s like to be an addict, as well as many other people that was all too eager to write about Mr. Williams and his demons.  They don’t know what it’s like to be an addict, depressed,  divorced, famous……but they want to be so quick to judge as if they were his best friend and walked through his life with him hand in hand.

But as everyone was mourning, criticizing, laughing, posting ridiculous comments, and talking as if they had all the answers to this terrible tragic ending to a man’s life.
I simply thought this.

“Since you left, the laughter is gone.”
and that made me very sad.

Selfish?
I was selfish.  I made him smile. I made him laugh.  He missed me. I knew he was sick.  I heard about his failing marriage and business.
Yet, I drove by. Sometimes without even a glance in his direction. 

What if…..
What if…..

What if I had stopped in to tell him I was thinking about him.
What if I had just sent that card.
What if I made that phone call.
What if I took the kids in to see him and we all laughed together, just like old times.

I was too busy with my own life. My kids. My husband.

Not too long ago, I walked into the shop that was once owned by this beautiful man.   It was kind of ironic, that the only two people in the salon that day was the two people that he said “since you guys left,  the laughter is gone”.   We spent the day talking about how much we missed him.  Even went upstairs to his private room that now sits empty and earily spooky as we both agreed that we could still feel his presence there.  I walked around reliving old memories, and wondering where had time gone.    We both talked about What if……
But it was too late.

This week, I thought about my own selfishness.   Not so much the death of Robin Williams,  but I thought of the many people willing to voice their nasty criticism without ever being in his shoes.

I just can’t be that person.
I will not judge.

I will promise you this….
I will love you no matter what.
I will cry with you.
I will LAUGH with you.
I will pray for you.
I will pray with you.

Be a reason someone smiles today. Be a friend.
Don’t wait till its too late to let someone know you love them and appreciate them.

Forever may end today.

8 thoughts on “What If….

  1. This is really beautiful and I am grateful to read such a lovely expression of compassion for others. I feel much the same way you do about not judging others, but I would never express it as well!

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  2. This is the BEST article I have read in response to Robin’s death. It is thought provoking and challenging. Thanks for sharing your experience as painful as it was. It certainly sheds some light and puts things in another perspective.

    Thanks for stopping by today. Glad you found me so I could find you!

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  3. Beautiful and touching post. Your perspective is very refreshing. We have no business judging others. We don’t know their stories, and we can’t assume everyone should or would do what we think.
    I can understand you feeling selfish that you never reached out to your friend, but I also hope you remember how much joy you gave him while you worked together. That was obviously a gift he cherished.

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  4. My neck is giving me a headache says:

    Because people are angry, they lash out. They say selfish. We will never know what was in his heart the day he died. We pretend to know. We say depression, but lots of people are depressed. I think judgment starts whenever anyone begins to diagnose or label. I will miss him. Thank you for finally showing another perspective.

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  5. This is a very touching post, for many reasons, I read some comments about Mr Robin Williams, and although I didn’t know him personally, his death touched me for many reasons. In my opinion Robin did not die of suicide he died of depression. Without God I know I would have died the same way and left behind those labels. Your story is touching because we all get so caught up in life that we sometimes forget the simple things, the hello. The smiles the laughter, sometimes that all others need. I can never judge anyone as my life has many skeletons. I’m going enjoy following your blog. God bless.

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