Unfunny: the Death of Robin Williams Spotlights Depression

The meaning of life then becomes an accumulative endeavor,
where each piece builds, supports and enriches the earth.
But with equal force, the missing threads –
the contributions we hold back –
are what tear humankind apart. 
–  The Meaning of Life

Moonlight Symphony by Aenea-Jones
Moonlight Symphony by Aenea-Jones

There has been beautiful, there has been young, there has been rich and there has been combinations of  all of the above, but funny is something almost unheard of. Funny is suppose to take the pain away. Funny brightens the mood and according to medical professionals laughter produced from funny raises our pain threshold, reduces stress and enhances immunity by boosting our levels of antibodies. Funny is not suppose to be sad. It is no wonder that the death of comedic genius Robin Williams has sent shockwaves around the world. He was funny and he was very sad, confirming that depression must be fought off with everything we have.

Post traumatic stress syndrome, post mortem depression, manic depressive, bi-polar {Here!} induced by alcohol or drugs, repressed memory come to life, and even a broken heart can bring us down. With so many ways to make the sun not shine, how do we not greet each new day with a smile? Why do we sit back and look for a fight, take an offense when none was meant, and through our verbal aggression rain down on our brothers and sisters day? Perhaps that is depression too acting out in a different way.


With so many movies to choose from and an equal amount of outstanding performances, Dead Poets Society resonates most deeply with me. We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute, we read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. Yes, it was an outstanding drama and yes, it was a brilliant cast, that flipped the script on what would be considered entertainment, but more so, it is my favorite Robin Williams film because it helped me to understand the debt, the talent and the imagination of acting, for  it was night and day from how we met him; as the high-voltage, over-the-top alien from Ork in Mork and Mindy. I was only days from graduating from the University, when Dead Poets Society debuted. Robin Williams was  transforming as an English teacher, that not only made his students believe they could do anything, he made those of us in the audience believe too. Oh Captain My Captain. 

unfunny death of robin williams

Robin Williams was funny and he was sad. I thank him for making me laugh even when depression overwhelmed him, and his addiction deceived him, and when his politics came out of him, and no doubt when he wanted to cry, but he never stopped making us laugh.

Depression is tricky and it is confusing but it can be managed and it can be defeated.   If there had still existed shame about depression, it died the day it took funny away. Reach out for help, and may you and your families, have a funny day.

– thepublicblogger


  1. Your post very beautifully puts across the sense of sadness, loss and even regret on losing such a talented and widely loved person as Robin Williams. What contributed to his taking such a drastic action may remain debatable but our trying to live our lives such that many times we don’t even come to know what the other members of our family are engaged in. Working parents, school going children esp teenagers who insist on a life of their own, dependent parents……they all have their own crises to face. They can form a solid support system for each other if only they would reach out and they were in turn received patiently too. If only they were stopped from becoming a world in themselves.


  2. OMG!!! This almost had me in tears. It was beautifully written, I felt every word and it captured the emotion that you wanted your readers to receive. It was truthful and most of all its real. Thank you for writing this.


  3. Reblogged this on Ian's Journal and commented:
    I so agree. Thank you for putting your warm thoughts down again Kendall. Dead Poets Society will always be a solid movie filled with great inspiration. I can’t remember how many times my dad and I watched Hook and Mrs. Doubtfire as well.
    As you often mention the importance of family and support, I wanted to share a token regarding one of my biggest supporters, my dad. He is one of my biggest inspirations when I feel depressed, and I can’t thank him enough for times like the week we just had. We went out to the west coast of Washington and traveled to awe awakening sites that truly show the beauty of our state, and remind me of all the good that exists. There are many memories that I hope to never lose, this being one, but I would trade them all if we could keep people laughing, and safe in their darkest moments. To brighter days, and shameless hearts.


  4. Dear friend Kendall,

    I love this post and have enjoyed the neighborhood very much. Please keep writing.

    Michelle as you know has been hospitalized and then institutionalize since her suicide attempt. When I told her of the lose of Robin Williams she wrote something that hit me pretty hard. I thought your readers might enjoy. And believe it or not Duty is about Robin William and suicide more general.




  5. Robin will be highly missed! He gave us many smiles and laughs. Well written!
    By the way, thanks for following my blog, thepublicblogger! Looking forward to see what you are up to, in the future too!


  6. It is so strange that even when you “have everything” (money, fame, family, ) that happiness is so elusive. It is what it is, he had a wonderful life unfortunately he also had his demons. But dying in your 60’s is not bad. When you think of all those who have died in war torn countries, little kids who never had the chance to even think of having a career…. he did well! Not only that he left a legacy……something very few of us can do. Thanks Robin…. it was great knowing you on screen!


  7. Thanks, Kendall, for a beautiful eulogy for such an incredible man, who had an amazing talent, and was able to touch so many lives and hearts. I know that an artist of such sensitivity and intense energy as Robin Williams had would know deep pain…sometimes we learn to hone our sense of humor as a way of coping with our pain. The world around me, personally, seems to be reeling from this sudden loss. I am heartened by the conversation and new awareness that Robin Williams’ suicide has prompted about the true nature of depression and suicide. I think he would be happy to leave a new hope for those afflicted with depression and suicidal thoughts as part of his legacy. Thanks again for a great and inspiring post.


  8. Your quote really hits it, Kendall. We have all walked by and minded “our own business,” ignored someone, wished we had said something nice and think it’s too late to say it now. And then there the wars and preventable diseases and accidents which have taken so many people from us; prevented so many good people from ever being born. We are all each other’s business. Robin Williams knew that better than anybody, which makes his death double the tragedy. The best thing we can do to honor his memory is to turn around and go back and say that kind word we were thinking. Carpe diem!


  9. My heart hurt and I cried when I heard Robin Williams took his own life. Yes depression is a disease. But it’s one that can managed.

    I don’t think people who kill themselves ever realize when they are escaping their demons that it’s the people left behind that suffer the most. .
    We are left with unanswered questions. Why didn’t I see this? Why didn’t he call? Or did he even think of me when he did the deed? Was I not important enough?

    My father, then my first husband a year later killed themselves. I was twenty and twenty one. It’s something that never leaves me. And I think it’s the easy way out. We are left to answer questions that we have no answers too. No we are not better off without these people in our lives.

    The world according to Garp was my Robin Williams favorite movie. I wrote a story on my Annie’s blog on Friday Aug. 10th. It was about a luncheon. Who would you invite. Robin Williams was one of my guest.


  10. I’m on the same page regarding his films.
    For me it’s Dead Poets Society and Mrs. Doubtfire.
    For similar and different reasons.
    In our household this morning, we moved from disbelief at the news to sadness.
    Thanks for your post.
    Depression is a dirty beast.


  11. I also loved Dead Poets Society because it showed his scope as an actor (not just a comedian) and it spotlighted how words can enrich and empower us. As a writer, I believe that truth with all that I am. Of course, the deeper themes of the movie were pain-riddled and spoke to my soul as a lover of young minds.
    It saddens me that in such a modern society of advanced medicine, people still succumb to the lies depression whispers.


  12. Yes, he gave and gave, and we who received returned that fickle commodity, passing fame. We paid our ticket and turned to greet the next float in the parade. Time to re-think “fan base”.


  13. I completely agree with what has been said here by everyone. I kept thinking about this sad event all day… What a tragic irony – the man known to the world as someone who brought out laughter ended his life – depression killed him. It just makes me think how much we undermine depression as an illness – it’s such a huge problem in today’s upside down world – the scariest part is that is so hidden, so behind the doors because it’s shameful to bring it up in to the society that we live in today, where a person is under such pressure to be trendy from the outside and nobody pays attention to the inside. Superficial relationships and being cool with doing crazy popular things is what matters today, how sad and unfortunate. We are losing ourselves… RIP mr. Williams


  14. It amazes me that Robin Williams with all the resources he had available to him didn’t get the help he needed that prevented him from taking his own life. My heart goes out to his family. It just shows that more needs to be done for people with these afflictions and support for their families in seeking care for their loved ones. His suicide shows that we as society have let mental health patients down. I hope this will spark change in the medical establishment around the world.
    I really enjoyed your post. It was quite insightful and a first step in adressing this problem. Hopefully it will spark the debate to create change.


    • As myself as example(cartoons) and Robin Williams,those of us with chronic depression may retain a most effervescent sense of humor. People with talent and depression seem to have a self and genius self and the latter can overwhelm us. Whitney captured our hearts with that voice and Robin commanded our funny bones. We have all been cheated due to their passing.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. written so well, expression and feelings are floating into words. i am heartbroken on his sad demise. 😦 he lives in our heart. 😦 RIP


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