My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

Beth Kaplan logo

RIP Robin Williams

Just laughed till the tears ran watching the best of the best – Robin Williams and Carol Burnett. Stay till the end, when they do the skit again.

And this, breathtaking, beyond brilliant:

I don’t understand, I just do not understand how people can want so desperately to get out and leave it all behind. This extraordinary man, his God-given talent, his children – it makes no sense. I do not understand how a man who gave so much pleasure to so many and made it look so effortless could be in such pain himself. Maybe pain is harder to deal with when you’re beloved, successful and rich – pace Phillip Seymour Hoffman and so many others. How profoundly tragic.

My son is dealing with the loss of a friend, not successful or rich but no less beloved, who jumped in front of a subway train last week. My heart is broken, Sam says. And that’s what we’re saying, too, about Mr. Williams.

Suicide is an issue dealt with obliquely in a film I saw this afternoon with my friend Ken: Calvary. It’s a powerful and dark film about the legacy of the Catholic church in Ireland – for good, yes, in the way people turn to priests for counsel and comfort, but more visibly for bad, in the haunting aftermath of the sexual abuse of children. There’s a mention that Jesus “committed suicide”, and the intimation that dedication to the church demands literal self-sacrifice. Ken is Catholic and was non-plussed; it’s not a film you’d tell your friends to rush out and see, and yet there’s beauty, humour and honesty. And a great deal of anger. As I walked home, everyone I passed looked like characters from the film struggling with their own particular demons.

Or not.

PS. Pictures of wounded Palestinian children in the “Star” today, so devastating I had to quickly turn the page. The other day I heard Hilary Clinton say “Israel has to defend itself”, and that all the casualties were the fault of Hamas. And that was the end of the considerable respect I once felt for Hilary Clinton.



2 Responses to “RIP Robin Williams”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I had the exact same feeling vis-à-vis Hilary Clinton. But then, it's so obvious she says this for the Jewish vote. As for Robin Williams…it's mental illness, Beth. Mental illness is one of the most under-funded, neglected and misunderstood issues of our time. I'm off to London for a week. Can't wait.

    Juliet in Paris

  2. beth says:

    Juliet, have a wonderful time in London – impossible not to. There was a very good editorial about Hilary in the NYT the other day – how successfully the chameleon Clintons use people. And yes, I know it's mental illness, but still have that old-fashioned judgemental feeling, "Just cheer up, for God's sake!"

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.


Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.


I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.


Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


Juliet in Paris, Spain and Beyond
Juliet is a Canadian who’s lived for decades in Paris and writes about her travels and the many things that interest her.