As you get older, the people and events that defined your times fade away. At 54, that is seriously happening for me. I could ignore or only briefly notice many of them. After all, quite a few of mine (such as Robert Redford, Tom Selleck and Tim Allen) are still around and even active.
But I can not get over losing Robin Williams to suicide. I was in high school when MORK & MINDY aired. I rarely missed an episode. I bought his comedy tapes, watched his movies, and simply appreciated his talent. DEAD POETS SOCIETY was emotionally riveting and I totally loved HOOK.
What really hurts is knowing that he did it because he was losing control of his mind which he surely felt defined his talent and his life. According to his last wife, he had been diagnosed with and begun showing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease three months before he died. His autopsy showed he had a debilitating brain disease called diffuse Lewy body dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), the second most common neurodegenerative dementia after Alzheimer’s that causes fluctuations in mental status, hallucinations and impairment of motor function. According to wife Susan Williams, “If Robin was lucky, he would’ve had maybe three years left. And they would’ve been hard years.”
Loosing him was the end of an era and seeing him perform still makes me teary-eyed, both for his suffering and my (our) loss.