“Thank you…for gracing my life with your lovely presence, for adding the sweet measure of your soul to my existence.”
I always thought that when I died, I would approach a hallway like this.
It struck me today as the nation mourns Robin Williams.
Every day, I work with someone who has a mental illness and most of those days, it is myself.
I chose a profession where I had no idea of the frustrations and the joys, simply because, as we learn when a person succumbs to the darkness, nobody can save you but yourself.
Pills are readily available. In multitudes. We are a nation of pill poppers.
But a person to listen openly and who is compassionate but also honest is a rare combination.
We can choose kindness. We can choose firmness. But we also have to choose to be open.
There are millions of people who have some form of mental illness and in America, we treat it like a joke.
This person here has a severe combination of Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia, but I make choices that take me away from dark paths and closed windows.
Actually, there have been times where I have been so terrified of the outside world, I could not leave my bedroom.
I have to tell myself, every day, to step outside of my door.
But every day, I work with children to help them to not go down that road.
I talk to my good friends and am open, honest, sometimes brutally blunt when I see them making choices that could leave them seeing a shadowy path.
I made a choice, a long time ago.
I saw my father and his demons hanging from the rafters of our garage in the middle of the night when I was 18.
Do you know? I still cannot go into that garage?
I can’t even put my hand on the door.
But the day after his death dawned so crystalline blue and cold, that when I walked outside with a mug of coffee, I thought, “There are choices I can never accept for myself. This sky is telling me to go on.”
I wish Mr. Robin Williams’ family peace in their sorrow.
I wish that our society could open a dialogue about the devil that lies dormant and is only tempered with pills.
And I pray that you, if you are suffering, see that cold, crystal blue, and say that you must go on.
Reach for the blue.
Nobody can change the entire world.
We are all here to change our small corner of it and that is what moves mountains.