Tuesday, August 12, 2014

May He Have Found the Summerlands

Robin Williams died Monday after a long illness.

Mr. Williams was one of America's most beloved entertainers. He was a hilarious stand-up, he starred in comedy television shows, and his list of films is longer than almost anyone else his age.

But even in his earliest years, Mr. Williams suffered from _________________, a chronic ailment that is treatable only by medication that has debilitating side effects.

During the early stages of his illness, Mr. Williams didn't know his diagnosis. He allayed his pain with over-the-counter medications, which some people who suffer from ____________________ find easier to use than the prescriptions available for the illness.

Eventually Mr. Williams received his diagnosis. He also understood that there was no hope for a cure, that he could only manage the sickness with a relentless and careful use of prescription medications. Unfortunately, for some people who have this illness, medication can interrupt or alter their abilities to do their jobs. Although I have no evidence, I would say that probably Mr. Williams was one of these people.

Many people who have ________________________ either deny it or are ashamed of it, or both. This is because ___________________ is an internal degenerative illness that has no clear physical symptoms. The kind of sympathy people lavish on patients with broken limbs or cancer is almost always unavailable to people with ______________. It's basically a sickness that has to be borne in silence.

Today we're hearing the usual outpouring of grief over Mr. Williams's death. Knowing his illness the way I do, I'm actually glad he lived as long as he did, and worked as hard as he did. An untreated case of _________________ can lead to much earlier mortality.

May Robin Williams have found the Summerlands. He fought the good fight with a dreadful illness, and he was remarkably productive despite his sickness. I admire him.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Anne, this is the best and most perceptive thing I've read or heard yet about Robin Williams' death. You're right -- it was a lifetime's illness, not a single moment of despair, that did him in after a long and valiant strugge.

Lucretia said...

I agree with you both. I'm sorry it hurt so bad he had to go. May he now find the peace that he never found in life. He will be greatly missed, and fondly remembered, by many, including me.

Anti Kate said...

Well said, Anne.

Thank you.

Anne Johnson said...

This illness is something I know about. I have a mild case and can tolerate the medication, but I know other people who just cannot stay on the medication.

Anne Basso said...

I keep thinking of the right words, and they continue to fail me. I wish him, his family, and his friends peace.

I wish it for us, too. I'm heartbroken.

Frostbite and Sunburn said...

What a perceptive article. I like it very much.