Everyone likes Robin Williams. Even people who wouldn’t describe themselves as “fans” can at least point to one performance of his that they like. If Mork & Mindy isn’t your thing, then you at least have to admire his work in Good Morning Vietnam; or if that doesn’t do it for you, then surely Dead Poets Society does. Or maybe Aladdin. And everybody loves The Fisher King. If you live in the English-speaking part of the world, at some point in your life, Robin Williams did something that made you smile. For me it was the recordings of his live shows. My stepdad had them on vinyl.

Almost three years ago my stepfather committed suicide. I didn’t know before then that he had struggled with depression for many years. I wish I had known. I don’t know if I could have done anything, but at least I wouldn’t have been so angry with him afterward. It wasn’t his fault. I understand that better now. I understand as well that everyone deals with depression at some point in their lives. I’m certain I have. If you have depression you need to know that there are people who love you, who care about you, and who want you to stay here a while longer. If it feels like more than you can handle, there are people you can talk to. Please do so. We’ll be happy – even proud of you – because you did.