Here is the best account I’ve read so far, and I admit I’ve been reading lots over the last 24 hours. Like many [most?] I’m stunned by the loss of this genius, and yet very human man.

From Time Magazine online; An Army Suicide Widow Remembers Robin Williams with a Smile, Leslie McCaddon, 8/12/14 (Personally I can’t imagine a worse title!) Here’s the article-

I remember running through the house, quickly opening a bedroom door to make sure my husband wasn’t choking or having a stroke. His screams and squeals could be heard throughout our entire place.

I found him, lying on the floor, in front of the TV gasping for air. On the screen above him was a paused image featuring Robin Williams’ face screwed up in a comedic expression. My husband was laughing and coughing, desperately wiping tears from his eyes.

“You”—gasp!—“have to”—cough!—“watch this”—howl!

He rewound to the start of the segment. Robin Williams was making fun of Scotland. And educating the audience. About golf. I don’t know if it is his accent, the reckless and wild use of the f-bomb, or simply the fact that he hits the nail completely on the head, but before long our three children were coming to make sure their parents weren’t choking. Or having a stroke. A stroke. Get it?

It was only a few years later that my laughing, hysterical husband would succumb to the same illness that Robin Williams did Monday. From the beginning, I have chosen to be honest about my husband’s struggle with depression, and his eventual death by suicide. As the news broke about Williams’ death Monday, my heart broke for his family. And for him.

You see, my husband Mike was funny, too, and often laughing. He saw the humor in the mundane and he could disarm those around him with humor.

Robin Williams is one of those actors that made us believe. He made us believe he was a teacher, a therapist and Peter Pan. He made us believe that if you just paid attention, this world was something to be open to, armed with laughter. I think it’s fair to say that until Monday night, when most of us talked about him, we didn’t discuss his struggle with addiction. I’m betting we never paused to wonder if it was rooted in anything other than fame.

We never stopped to ponder whether this heartfelt, hilarious man was battling depression. That’s why I’m grateful for the expert on CNN who kept referring to the “brain disease” that took Robin Williams’ life.

Since my husband died in March 2012, I’ve worked hard to remind people that untreated depression can kill. And depression does not always announce itself to friends, neighbors, co-workers and fans. Depression can be a silent killer—with often only a family member or two struggling to find the right balance of love and medical support to help their loved one through.

Robin Williams has left me with one final smile. Because of who he was, because of what he meant to so many and because he was one of the finest entertainers to ever walk this planet, Robin Williams has broken through the stigma surrounding depression and suicide. There hasn’t been a global rush to judgment. I’ve (thankfully) yet to hear a single person refer to his choice as “selfish.”

Rather, there has been an overwhelming international response to his death as tragic—as the result of a disease. And as a great loss to those of us who already miss him. Just as I pictured my husband “on the other side,” baffled to discover how treasured he was by so many loved ones, friends and co-workers, I also picture Mr. Williams with tears in his eyes to discover that he was loved by the whole world. I just wish we’d had the chance to do more for him.

Today, I plan to curl up in front of the TV and remember two men who managed to capture my heart and make me laugh until someone had to come check on me. You are both loved. You are both missed. And we will continue to learn and grow in our understanding of how to treat depression because of both of you. Rest in peace, and laughter, Mr. Williams.

Please, if you, or someone you love, are depressed or thinking of ending your life for any reason, reach out. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. You will not be judged. You deserve to know you are loved.

Leslie McCaddon, the widow of Army Captain Michael McCaddon, is a mother of three and lives in Arizona.


Note; I had planned a follow up to the last post, and even had it half-written, but changed my mind. So instead here’s what I’m thinking about now.

From painter Chuck Close on creativity, on the blog (What a great name!)  KnitTangle10-2011

“See, I think our whole society is much too problem-solving oriented. It is far more interesting to [participate in] ‘problem creation’ … You know, ask yourself an interesting enough question and your attempt to find a tailor-made solution to that question will push you to a place where, pretty soon, you’ll find yourself all by your lonesome — which I think is a more interesting place to be.”

I’m not going to write about creativity, but about asking yourself questions and trying to figure it all out. Figure what out? Your feelings. From the same site mentioned above, a post about a book titled; Lost Cats: An Illustrated Meditation on Love, Loss and What it means to be Human. In the last chapter the author writes; “Every quest is a journey, every journey a story. Every story, in turn, has a moral.” She believes you can’t ever really know anyone, but no matter, because; “love is better.”

In the days I think of as “hectic parenting,” a year after my marriage imploded, when  I worked on Extra Chrom-Nate 2013finishing the job of raising my children alone, I went on a journey of delving in to understand myself. One of the hardest tasks in my new life; having no partner to tell the stories to at night, or to share reminisces, or to hold and be held- to be loved [and of course love right back]. The moral of my story then was; she managed, she found within herself a strength to find alternate answers, to accept her children’s love, her friends’ love, to explore with her writing and to run and swim and find nourishment in those exercises for both body and heart and mind.

It’s now many years later. My role of full-time parent has diminished as the artist/writer has bled through and now takes up more space, more energy. Yet always the task of understanding myself persists, perhaps because nothing stands still, all things change. I don’t sit back to watch the change, I immerse myself in attempting to understand. I’ve been writing stories for my children, so that they can discover who I’ve been, am and what I’ve done. Because they’ve only known me as the person who taught them things, or cooked their meals. I want them to know me as I’ve come to know me; a person both limited and limitless, full of love and flawed.

"Centered" a work by Nate and his mom.

“Centered” a work by Nate and his mom.

Last week my youngest son, who spent the longest time with me, except for his disabled brother who is 31 and still with me (as a roomie now) gave me a gift. My children gift me mostly with words, which is pretty wonderful, but I have to say this gift; words plus a tangible thing I’ve always wanted, was a sort of proof that I am appreciated for what I’ve given all these years. And that I’m loved. But already I knew that last bit because he and I have been expressing it to each other forever.

Words are important, more than gifts. Gifts break, die, get lost or returned, but words echo. I am now a confirmed bachelor- or the female equivalent, whatever the terminology. I would accept as much love as I’m given and return it happily, but do not trust myself to make a good choice. Rejection several times, by several people closest to me has left me with a desire to no longer be hurt by someone who says they love me or used to love me.

Today he and I talked by phone to catch up. We talked about meditation. For me knitting and swimming feel natural as a meditation practice, PieceBlk&Wht and sometimes when I create a collage too. I spend a lot of time in my head, I guess because I spend a lot of time alone. Good thing I like me. (Can you see my grin?) Lately a lot of garbage runs through my brain; such as why doesn’t X love you, why are you unworthy, why haven’t you accomplished more in your life, etc, etc.  I’ve been combating the negativity by employing my homegrown, “just say no” philosophy. When I catch myself caught in a relentless bad-thought loop, I tell myself to stop. Admonish myself. That’s the “just say no” part. I don’t allow myself to continue. I’m not very good at sitting cross-legged on the floor staring into the abyss of nothingness, but I find quiet in my own way. Along with the quiet I try to find love and compassion for myself. It’s the only way I can live.

Lastly, a great article on about knitting as therapy felt like confirmation, so I’ve added some pictures of pieces of my knitting- top and bottom. The middle pictures; one of middle son and one of his stitchery with my “framing” and added bits and bobs.

Thanks for visiting.