On Robin Williams’ Death and the Suicide Epidemic

Be Kind Plato Quote | Dianna Bonny Photography

Robin Williams’ death, and the subsequent media storm, rendered me wordless last week. I tried to write, but couldn’t find words to express the sadness I felt. From the moment I heard about his suicide, I was lulled into a kind of trance, watching the media swirl around, offering up vacuous commentary and opinions.

Why did a news feed need to be posted outside his home? Were they expecting him to miraculously appear? Did they seriously think the family might step outside to explain what was happening?

And then there was his daughter having to leave Twitter due to vicious comments from individuals in the general public.

I wonder why it is that people feel the need to be so cruel, especially at moments of extreme vulnerability.

And what of the comment that he was a “coward” by Fox News? How can a professional news agency attach such a pathetic label over the end of a man’s life, a man who left behind three children who are now navigating the aftermath?

Instead of standing in the bleachers broadcasting outdated clichés that contribute nothing, why aren’t we inviting real conversation around this tragedy? This is a time for exploration and compassion, not judgment and labeling.

This is a time to ask ourselves why suicide kills more people on the planet every year than war, murder and natural disaster, combined. Are all those people cowards? Or is something happening to the fabric of society globally that we should be examining in a new way?

This is a time to be alarmed by the statistic that a child of parental suicide is six times more likely to follow the same path.

The reasons for suicide are as vast and wide as the ocean, and in truth, we will never know the reasons behind many of them. It is a profound mystery that I believe is calling us to probe deeper than we have been willing or capable of doing until now.

I think the real question is: do we have the courage to look honestly at what we find?

Every suicide has the potential to leave a devastating legacy and perpetual suffering. We can make the choice to heal in the aftermath, but it requires a decision to make peace with uncertainty, to go deep within and to overcome the extraordinarily painful circumstances.

This is the only way healing can begin.

May we all find the love, truth and wisdom we need to begin this process.

For another interesting perspective on speaking about suicide please check out this insightful post by Hollis Easter.


Who is Dianna Bonny?

Hi, my name is Dianna Bonny. It’s my mission to candidly share my journey with you. For me, it’s all about the healing: to create a radiant healing energy for others who have befallen a similar fate. Together, we can forge beautiful lives of belonging and connection. Thanks for joining me today! I look forward to hearing from you.

  7 comments for “On Robin Williams’ Death and the Suicide Epidemic

  1. Brad T
    August 18, 2014 at 9:16 am

    The statistic sounds large. If one were to statistically calculate the number of survivors living in the world right now who also have a possible connection to your blog, would you be able to focus your message to get their attention on your healing words?

    Peace from Buenos Aires.

  2. Colleen C
    August 19, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Actually, your statistic is not correct. If you add up all the deaths due to disease it would far out weigh suicide deaths. Return to the Newsweek article and you will see they say, “war, murder, and natural disasters combined” NOT disease. You can also see it visually on their “How we Die” bar chart.
    It’s tough but important to get the facts out there accurately.
    Thanks for raising awareness and sharing your story.

    • Dianna Bonny
      August 19, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      Colleen: Many thanks for the correction. Not sure how I injected disease in there but appreciate you pointing it out and agree that the facts need to be accurate. Best, Dianna

  3. August 21, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Dianna, I appreciate your writing about Robin Williams Death. His loss has touched me in a profound way. You noted, “We can make the choice to heal . . . it requires a decision to make peace with uncertainty, to go deep within and to overcome the extraordinarily painful circumstances. . .This is the only way healing can begin.”
    Although those bereaved by suicide are faced with a decision to go deep within, they can also find other ways to make sense out of what happened. Perhaps it is possible for each one of us to find meaning in our loss in our own personal way. Sometimes that way does not include going deep within as you noted. For some survivors, going deep within is simply too difficult to achieve. Therefore, survivors can focus on their strengths which help them maintain resilience and achieve post traumatic growth. You stated that it requires a decision to make peace with uncertainty . . . and that is the only way. Rather than a survivor believing that there is only one way to heal, we need to give them permission to find their own personal way that works for them. Although many survivors need to “make peace with uncertainty”, some survivors need the tumult to propel them forward to survive. We need to be mindful that there is not only one way to heal.

    • Dianna Bonny
      August 21, 2014 at 9:18 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment Barbara.

      I agree that those bereaved need to make their own sense of what happened and that we must find meaning in our own personal way. My stance with the aftermath of suicide, based on my own experience and the conversations with people I have met, is that so many are frozen in the landscape of old, archaic beliefs and expectations. I only want to expand the conversation so people who have NEVER discussed the suicide of a friend, parent, or sibling have the permission to do so and find their way to healing.

      I may be naive in this approach. At the very least, I know I am touching an nerve.

      My experience of suicide has been making peace with uncertainty – this may not be so for everyone.

      I wholeheartedly agree that there are many ways to to heal but I do believe it begins with a decision.

      By going deep, I simply mean to trust oneself.

      Thank you for your comment. I sincerely appreciate your thoughts and hope we can continue the conversation.

      xo, Dianna

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