Wow…hasn’t it been an interesting few days…Social Media has been going off in pretty much every direction it could since the death of Robin Williams. We have had commentaries about the fear of copy cats; people saying that he is going to hell for committing suicide; truly heartfelt tributes by people who knew him; there have been comments judging and ridiculing those who have been impacted by his death, but did not know him; others judging him for being selfish and then others discussing how suicide is not selfish…it just goes on and on.
One thing that is not in dispute is how a very strong spotlight has been placed squarely on the issues of depression, mental illness and suicide. And just maybe this will be the greatest legacy that comes as a result of the extraordinary life and then death of Robin Williams.
The other thing that is very clear, is that there is a whole lot of grief being experienced across the globe as a result of his death. It still stuns me how people are so judgmental of others who are experiencing grief, as if there were some scale that stipulates who is allowed to grieve, in what circumstances, for what duration and intensity. Ha!!
There’s a few points about grief I’d like to make…
- Grief has no rules.
Yes, it would be so much easier for everyone if grief had a consistent, predictable framework, but that’s not how it works, because that’s not how life works. And it doesn’t matter about the who, what, why, when, where or how of the experience that triggers the grief. Grief is grief.
- Grief is intensely personal and the epitome of unique
Every single grieving experience you have in your life will be totally different because the nature of the loss and your relationship with the loss (person/fur kid/thing etc) is totally different.
- Grief can be indirect, yet still as intense as if it was direct
For the vast majority of people, they did not personally know Robin Williams. Yet they are experiencing intense grief as a result of his death. Events can trigger/remind us of situations that have been profoundly powerful for us and even re-ignite old grief.
Of course, the overriding thing here is that no one has the right to judge another’s journey. There is that quote about walking a mile in another’s shoes, but even then, I don’t believe anyone has the right to judge – and yes, I am still on my own journey of lessening/eliminating judgement in my life.
We have all become experts at judging everyone else when what we need to be experts in is showing compassion for everyone else. And maybe, just maybe if we did show compassion for everyone else instead of living lives of judgment, we may have less incidences of suicide. I know, sounds crazy huh?
I have been pondering this deeply this morning and I can’t for the life of me work out why we choose judgement over compassion…maybe that’s a blog for another day…
Grief needs to be allowed to be experienced, within the bounds of individual responsibility, if it is to be processed. Denial of grief will only complicate it and extend it’s impact and duration. And believe me, stuffing it in a nice little box is not an effective long term strategy either – short term, brilliant! Long term, let’s just say it will bite you on the butt.
If you are finding grief overwhelming, talk to someone that you can trust, that you know will support and empower you to work through your grief so that you can come out the other side.
We only grieve because we love. It truly is that simple – you cannot experience grief if you have not loved what has been lost. And from this perspective, Robin, you were truly and deeply loved.
With love, Sharon