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That’s Your Responsibility As A Human Being

Hi everyone.  I write to you tonight with a heart full of tremendous sadness.  For the last few hours, the world has been suffering the loss of one of our most gifted actors and tremendous talents.  The news of the passing of Robin Williams absolutely broke my heart.  Mine among many.  I had aspirations of returning to blogging and intentions of waiting to do so until I had made some cosmetic changes here on my blog, but the message in my heart begs to be spoken and the cosmetic changes will have to wait for another day.

The news media and social media circles will discuss this tragic loss for many weeks to come.  Although the news isn’t official at this time, many are speculating that Robin took his own life.  Suicide has personally affected me three times.  Three people, all very special to me, made the heartbreaking and very final choice to end their suffering by permanently extinguishing their collective light among us.  The enormous reservoir of pain that these people, and Robin, must have felt just shatters my heart.  To think that there are people who walk beside us, who share buses and offices and grocery stores and churches and families and marriages with us, suffer so enormously that suicide is the only viable option just breaks my heart.  We are failing one another at a cataclysmic rate by not recognizing the pain that those around us experience.  We are responsible for one another in this life.  The exercise of human kindness and the extension of true attention and honest energy to those we encounter is so often overshadowed by the busy goings-on of our own lives.  So many of us drown in our own hectic, our own sagas, our own comings and goings that we do not make the intentional time to give of ourselves to one another.  We have to do a better job of being deliberately thoughtful of the people in our lives.  Don’t hear, listen.  Put your phone down.  Cancel your other appointment.  Be present for the people who love you.  Be kind.  That is your responsibility as a human being.  Live in love and treat those around you with dignity.  Watch for the less obvious signs of suffering.  Be.  Just be.  And know that in being, you make a difference in the lives of those you meet.

I certainly don’t ascribe blame for suicide to anyone.  Please do not misinterpret my message.  My heart, however, compels your heart to make a personal commitment to kindness, to intentional presence, and to love.  While you certainly are not responsible for the actions of others, you are indeed responsible for giving and loving and kindness….and making a difference.  The cliched notion of not knowing what someone else is going through is indeed very, very true.  We are largely ignorant of the profound difference and goodness that we can bring to one another.  Tonight, I remind you of your responsibility to exert that kindness and deliberate presence.  Be the person who makes the difference.  We can no longer afford the cost of failing one another.  One more family’s heartbreak is unacceptable.  One more life lost is unconscionable.

Rest in peace, Mr. Williams.  Thank you for the laughter and the inspiration.  May your soul find now only the joy that you brought to so many of us.


  1. I agree whole-heartedly with your blog, Jennifer. My life has been touched by the suicide of others twice in the last dozen years or so. I think back to high school and early college… I was there, on the cusp of making that decision, too. I remember walking between Blumberg and Cromwell on my way to find my end when a girl on campus grabbed me by the arm and slapped me across the face, then hugged me and wouldn’t let go. It makes me feel terrible to know the kind of pain I would have put my family through. Now, as a parent and a teacher I feel the need to try and keep an eye open for the kiddos who might be feeling so alone and worthless. I try to be the kind of parent/teacher/adult that a kid who is hurting can turn to and know that I will be there and help them through. I have a feeling tonight will be one of those nights when I cry myself to sleep. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

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