Robin M. Williams
July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014
How many times have I stood next to someone who gave up few signs and shared little, and camouflaged or diverted or joked so expertly that I thought he might be just like me – someone with connections and support? “See you next week.”
To take in a broader view beyond suicide, my heart goes to dying alone. Dying in solitary, in no one’s company, is a thought I can’t abide.
I once worked in EMS in New York City. Occasionally a call came to meet the medical examiner at an apartment, where someone would be pronounced, alone. If there were a pet who was now orphaned, it focused the nature of the loss and for me, amplified an unremitting pain for those who have no one.
Since then I have had to face my own death twice, and as a nurse I have almost twenty years working in home hospice – yet nothing I experienced there can compare to the weight of these lonely deaths, which have given me some of the worst nights I have spent, before or since.
Robin Williams: “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.” I would dread facing that choice.
“Some people can’t believe in themselves
until someone else believes in them first.”
– “Good Will Hunting”
Good Will Hunting
“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane
by those who could not hear the music.”
to listen, click on white arrow.
Chameleon, Elton John
The last I heard of youYou were somewhere on a cruise in the MediterraneanSo imagine my surprise to see you very much aliveIn the English rain againAnd I can still recall wet afternoonsWhen we were small and simply childishBut you’ve created your own ghostAnd the need you have is more than most to hide it Oh, Chameleon, you’re stealing your way back into my eyesBeyond a shadow of a doubtYou’re a devil, you’re a devil in disguiseDo you really change me, or am I going crazyChameleon, Chameleon, Chameleon, you’re free again my child. I remember still those lazy summer days we’d kill
Out hunting dangerAnd we were alien to all outsidersWe had no desire to talk to strangers
Oliver Sacks, M.D.
July 9, 1933 – August 30, 2015
“Who cared if there was really any Being to pray to? What mattered was the sense of giving thanks and praise, the feeling of a humble and grateful heart.”
♂ ♀ ∗ † ∞ ♂ ♀ ∗ † ∞ ♂ ♀ ∗ † ∞ ♂ ♀ ∗ † ∞ ♂ ♀ ∗ † ∞ ♂ ♀ ∗ † ∞ ♂ ♀ ∗ † ∞ ♂ ♀
Terry Hourigan, R.N. 2015
photos: Ferns : Frank Burnside
“Awakenings” Columbia Pictures
“Good Will Hunting” Miramax
“Alone” is a rough way to go, whether it’s on with life or an end to life. But there’s one thing people who feel alone need to ask themselves: have I done this to myself? Have I discouraged communication or, worse, stopped communicating? Have I made it difficult, if not impossible, for friends to reach me or just stand by me? Have I woven this garment of aloneness so tightly that no light can enter or escape, that no one can break through?