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My thoughts and tribute to Robin Williams #suicide, #comedy #entertainment #GetOnUp

By Joy A. Kennelly


I wasn't sure I wanted to write about Robin Williams' death out of respect for his family and because my feelings were so close to the surface when I found out he died. I love comedy, comedians and laughing which is why his death hit me a little hard even though I never personally met him.

Reading comments from a friend that he was "weak" and hearing a news anchor had called him a "coward" compelled me to write because I have contemplated suicide in the past and I don't consider myself either of those terms.

I think if you're artistic you feel more, you are more sensitive, you care more and often are more misunderstood than those who are "normal" because we don't experience life the same way "normal" people do. I think this meme floating around captures it best:

Alone-robin-williams_2It's easy to judge famous people, or anyone for that matter, who chooses suicide, but if you've never walked in their shoes, felt their pain, or lived their life, who are we to judge?

Yes, it's awful. Yes, what about his family? Yes, he could have found help, but rather than judge, maybe consider volunteering for a suicide helpline and hear the pain people are experiencing on a daily basis. Or really mean it when you ask someone, "How are you doing?" 

Or if you're contemplating suicide yourself, reach out for help from friends, or from the National Suicide Prevention Lifelife:

I know I did oh so many years ago and it helped me gain perspective. I haven't felt suicidal in so long I know God heals and I know you can find help if you seek it.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

I recently saw Get On Up - the amazing story of James Brown's life and when I left the theater, I cried. I couldn't imagine growing up with the pain and struggles he experienced. Yet, I have had my own pain and struggles. We all do.

You are not alone.

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Here's a little insight into the film and the actor who played him courtesy of Ebony Magazine: "Chadwick Boseman, who epitomized the legendary Godfather of Soul, exclusively tells EBONY he originally didn’t want the role that is now giving him Oscar worthy buzz.

"When my manager brought me the script, I didn’t even want to read it because I knew attempting to play James Brown would just be crazy," cited Boseman.  However, once he received the role, beating out 20 actors for the part, he was completely dedicated to capturing the essence of Brown.  “He was a complicated man, both good and bad.  Once you understand the reasons for his dichotomy, it’s easier to grasp who he was.”

If you haven't seen the film, please do. Brilliant acting. Oh, and on a side note, tonight at the Hollywood Bowl is a tribute to James Brown if you're interested. More info here.

That dichotomy is what made Robin Williams great as well. I will never forget watching Mork and Mindy growing up, or seeing Dead Poet's Society, another film where I left the theater and just drove around crying it impacted me so deeply. Or who can forget Good Morning Vietnam or Mrs. Doubtfire? Or any of his roles?


The depth and breadth of his talent for playing such a diverse range of roles is what set him apart and why I think people are grieving so much more than normal. He was a comedic genius, an icon of entertainment and someone who shaped the world in which we live through his talent. I always hate when people discount entertainment as shaping our world when it's so obvious it does - both for good and for evil.

I liked the fact Robin Williams was patriotic too. Have you seen this clip before? I never had and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:


It's so easy to judge those who are famous, but I ask that you consider the fact we're all human, we all struggle, we all face demons and struggles no one else knows about.

Sympathy, empathy and compassion go a lot farther than judgement. 

Matthew 7:1-2  Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and  with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

And I leave you with this thought because right now I think the world needs a little more love and little less judgement for those who suffer: 

John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  

I love you. God loves you.

Robin Williams rest in peace. May your life and death not be in vain.



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