In 2014, Robin Williams took his own life at the age of 63. It wasn’t until an autopsy was performed that his family learned he had a neurological ailment called Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), a disease similar to Alzheimer’s. LBD attacked parts of his brain, making the once vibrant man depressed, anxious, and paranoid, almost unrecognizable to his loved ones.
Williams’ wife of three years, Susan Schneider, wrote an essay about her husband’s deep slide into neurological disrepair, something she and Williams felt helpless to stop. Her piece, published in Neurology earlier this week, is called “The Terrorist Inside My Husband’s Brain.”
Here, five powerful quotes about Williams’ last year:
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“I have since learned that people with LBD who are highly intelligent may appear to be okay for longer initially, but then, it is as though the dam suddenly breaks and they cannot hold it back anymore. In Robin’s case, on top of being a genius, he was a Julliard-trained actor. I will never know the true depth of his suffering, nor just how hard he was fighting. But from where I stood, I saw the bravest man in the world playing the hardest role of his life.”
On Not Knowing
“Robin was losing his mind and he was aware of it. Can you imagine the pain he felt as he experienced himself disintegrating? And not from something he would ever know the name of, or understand? Neither he, nor anyone could stop it-no amount of intelligence or love could hold it back.”
“He kept saying, ‘I just want to reboot my brain.’”
“If only Robin could have met you. He would have loved you-not just because he was a genius and enjoyed science and discovery, but because he would have found a lot of material within your work to use in entertaining his audiences, including the troops. In fact, the most repeat character role he played throughout his career was a doctor, albeit different forms of practice.”
“When we retired for sleep, in our customary way, my husband said to me, 'Goodnight, my love,’ and waited for my familiar reply: 'Goodnight, my love.’ His words still echo through my heart today.”
Read the entire essay here.
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