Robin Williams is a stranger to most of us. So was Philip Seymour Hoffman. And Heath Ledger. And sadly, so many other people of fame who have died in some way associated with alcoholism or addiction.
Why does it matter so much to us when they die? Strangers die unremarked in all kinds of ways every day.
Maybe (speaking only for myself) it matters so much because if they can’t do it – if ‘they’, who have so very much by way of resources and access to resources, can’t do ‘it’, who can? What hope does the little guy, the average joe, the ordinary person, who may not have that kind of access in these United States, at least, have?
Of course, success may actually be part of the problem for the rich and famous – that same success that gives them ease of access to treatment and care gives them access to the thing that will kill them.
Obviously, the cost of addiction is not (or not only) an issue of class or economics.
But when Robin Williams dies, I am not just mourning for him. I am mourning for everyone else who struggles his struggle and wondering what chance they have if he couldn’t do it.
Of course, I know better. Of course I know that all those who struggle have a chance. And that so much depends on so many variables. And that help is really only a phone call away. But I also know that for some, it is sometimes just too much and Superman won’t arrive in the nick of time.
And knowing all this, I mourn.