…but I hate myself…but I hate myself…but I hate myself…
This is the refrain that has again wrecked my mind over the last 24 hours. It started echoing in my brain when I saw the first article announcing Robin Williams’ suicide. I don’t know why this one has gotten to me so. I have hardly heard anything else today. It has stolen my focus. So, I am writing here to give it its due.
This was the last phrase offered to my family and me from my Father: the last communication, the last line of his brief suicide note. He told us each that he loved us, but that he hated himself.
The horror and sadness that someone who loved him feels at those words is beyond my ability to express. I know it’s what family, friends, and fans of Robin Williams are feeling today. Our imaginations try to grasp life, love, and relationships under that sort of shadow; self-hatred tainting everything you do, see, are. A mind that doesn’t know Depression simply can’t comprehend.
We cry for his suffering and its contradiction to the joy he provided. I cry again for my Father’s suffering and contradictions. I am amazed both lived as long as they did.
And strangely, my Father’s final written words provide some comfort and explanation for why we arrived here in mourning, in loss, in confusion. They articulate that he could no longer face himself, even as he faced the world with such love and ferocity of spirit. I sat with him just the week before as he sobbed uncontrollably wringing his hands and apologizing for things within – no connection to my reality as his son.
It was that spirit within. It’s not that it was dead; it was corrupt, vicious, and destroying him from the inside. His suicide was the only way he saw left to rid himself and the world of that darkness.
I find peace in my firm belief that my Father was at peace, not only upon his death, but in the moments leading up to it. He was resolved. He had clarity. He knew his suffering and his perceived burden on his family and the world were almost over. He had no fight left and he could see the light. “When I die, hallelujah by and by, I’ll fly away.”
He was free, finally.