When Robin Williams passed away on Monday, I found it incredibly difficult not to make his death about myself. After all, I’m online all the time, I have good opinions, and people like me. Beyond that, I was intimately familiar with his work, and like Williams, I also suffer from depression.
The only thing that prevented me from immediately turning to the world and announcing my victimhood, was the overwhelming amount of other people doing the same exact thing.
“You know, I’ve thought about killing myself,” someone would tweet.
“Me too!” another would say.
I felt like my death (Robin’s death) was being taken from me. I felt like his death, which was about me, had been appropriated. Suddenly, I knew how minorities felt. I knew how angry they must be about all the times I’ve listened to rap music. I spent two days in silence, trying my best not to comment at all on social media about the passing of one of my heroes. I did my best, and never once did I draw comparisons between a man’s actual death and my passing whims about what the world would be like if I ceased to exist.
Luckily, Lauren Bacall passed away today, and I was able to move on to the second stage of grief: Losing Interest. I quickly forgot not only about Robin Williams, but also about how everyone stole his death from me. But, I knew that I would go online to craft a beautiful eulogy for Bacall after quickly googling her and reminding myself of who she was, and I’d see more of the same. I’d see other people stealing her death from me, and making it about themselves.
Well, that actually hasn’t happened yet. In fact, at most, I just see people lamenting the loss and linking to clips from her movies.
I felt validated. Why? Because I knew that this was a sign. I knew that Lauren Bacall’s death was specifically about me. I knew that if it was about anyone else, they would have made it about themselves, but so far, no one has.
You see guys, Bacall didn’t just “die.” She got old, and then died. She was a victim of aging – a very rare and serious condition that only a few people understand – and I’m one of them.
When I heard the news that she had gotten old and died, I suddenly remembered my own struggles with aging; the crow’s feet forming under my temples, the few strands of gray in my hair, and my sagging big huge ass. I know that like Bacall, one day I will succumb to this process and I will cease to exist. And that’s really hard to accept.
So please, go ahead and express your condolences to Bacall and her family. Lament the loss of a great actress. But remember, in a way, this is really about people like me. People that suffer from aging; and if you know someone who suffers from aging – like me for example – remember that you will never understand their struggle. You need to be patient with them. You need to listen. You need to remember that they are more important that you right now, considering that a part of them basically just died.