Patch Adams: The Death of a Comic

by Peggy Sweeney
The Sweeney Alliance

Patch_AdamsI fell in love with Robin Williams during the movie, Patch Adams. I disliked Philip Seymour Hoffman in the same movie. Over time, I came to find both actors on an even par, I loved them equally. Now they are both dead.

Depression is an evil demon that reaches into the core of someone, be they Robin, Philip or the thousands of men and women who die by suicide each year. I have had a brother-in-law take his own life. I have read story after story after story of brave men and women in the armed services and those who serve their communities as police and correctional officers, firefighters/EMS and 911 dispatchers who fight this same demon, but lose the battle over depression.

Please do not judge Robin or Philip or the others. Do not call them weak. They suffer from a mental illness that, at times, is cast aside as not an important illness, something that we only talk about in whispers. They are often told to suck it up. Be a man! They are shunned.

If you learn nothing else from this posting, please do NOT take depression lightly. If you have a loved one that struggles with depression, please hold them close and do everything in your power to help them.

To my brother and sister first responders, the time has come to STAND TALL and demand help! If you are in command of your department, damn it get real and get your men and women the help they need and deserve. Quit worrying about the money angle of your department or climbing the ladder of success. There is no price on a person’s life.

And finally, my heart goes out to the families and departments who has been touched by the death of their loved one or comrade to suicide. Please do not turn your back on them. Their grief is unimaginable.

Dear Robin, Philip and the others, go rest high on that mountain. The pain and suffering are over. Much love and many HUGS.

About the Author: Peggy Sweeney is a mortician (retired) and bereavement educator and the president of The Sweeney Alliance. She has developed and taught countless workshops for coping with grief and trauma including How to Understand Grief Seminars (HUGS) and the Grieving Behind the Badge program for emergency response professionals. She has reached out to her community through Comfort and Conversation support group for bereaved adults and teens. She has written numerous award-winning articles and is the editor of the Journeys Through Grief Newsletters. Peggy is a member of the Comfort (TX) Volunteer Fire Department, and a former EMT-B.

Peggy, along with Mr. Shannon Pennington, North American Fire Fighter Veteran Network, co-authored First Step Hope: Not All Wounds Are Visible for all emergency responders and their families. A unique learning experience which provides the latest information and resources about post traumatic stress, suicide intervention and prevention as well as coping with loss and grief. Peggy and Shannon devote their time and effort to making a positive change in the lives of first responders and in reducing the number of suicides in these professions. If you would like additional information about First Step Hope please contact Peggy through her email peggy@sweeneyalliance.org.

Read her Survivors of Suicide article here.

Bethany's JtG.jpg

Subscribe to the Journeys Through Grief Newsletters here.

4 thoughts on “Patch Adams: The Death of a Comic

  1. Nicely put Peggy. I grieved the loss of Robin Williams for a full week. I was an extra in “Patch Adams” and was in the presence of Mr. Williams and Mr. Hoffman for a week. I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with Robin during a break regarding gun control. He was so passionate in the causes he supported! The brilliance of these two men will surely be missed for years to come. Good for us that we can watch them in movies forever!

  2. Robin Williams was an enormously gifted actor and comedian and I am so sad about his death.

    When one hears suicide there is the additional pain on top of the loss. For me it was, “Oh, he must have been so sad and depressed and those who loved him might have known he was suffering but couldn’t help no matter what they said or did. No matter how much love they gave to him.”

    Our minds are an organ and we can’t forget that over time they can become worn out, stressed out, exhausted and it can take just one moment where one feels like one cannot cope another day.

    I’m a grief specialist by profession and personal experience. I run a group for bereaved mothers (there are 29 of us). Our group has been together for 5 and 1/2 years. In it are several mothers whose children have also died of suicide. It’s a terrible and painful loss. Many of these children were in treatment and, yes, medication and therapy do help, of course, but sometimes no matter what others do the person who suffers cannot get out of that dark and torturous place.

    So what does one do when a friend (like Robin Williams) take himself away from this world? We grieve, that is what we do. We cry some, we pray for their family members left behind, and we remember to show compassion to everyone for we really don’t know what someone is going through.

    Lastly, we whisper a tender prayer of thanks to his soul for sharing such wonderful talents with us. His soul which made us laugh, slap our knee and shake our heads in wonder for the sweet man with the twinkling blue eyes that we will never forget.

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