Among Robin Williams’ many talents, he was also an excellent dad. For proof, look no further than his daughter, Zelda. Since her father’s suicide, she has handled herself with grace, as the family’s unofficial spokesperson. It hasn’t been easy. For a while, she had to shut down her Twitter account, because of horrible things people were saying to her there. Yes, even AFTER her father died. If he died from cancer or a heart attack or just about anything else, something tells me that she wouldn’t have faced all that ugliness.
This is a young woman who knows both the sting and the stigma of mental illness. That’s why her Tweets on World Mental Health Day were so impressive. She has already become a mental illness advocate, and a very good one.
She also clears up a big misconception about her father when she says that he openly fought his depression. After the news of Robin’s suicide, I lost count of the number of articles I read that said he was open about his past drug problems, but not his depression. That’s not true. When I was first diagnosed with depression 20 years ago, I was given a list of famous people who had “the big black dog” too. Robin Williams’ name was on it. Not only that, but he talked about it in many print interviews. In print, he could be more serious than he often was on television. I read many of those articles. They — and he — let me know that I was not alone.
I still have a hard time believing that Robin Williams is not part of this world anymore. But Zelda’s advocacy inspires me. We all know that Robin’s comic legacy will never be forgotten. It’s nice to know that his legacy of caring for others will continue as well. To Zelda, I have just one thing to say: You go, girl!