I've struggled a bit with this celebrity death. Usually when one dies, I think things such as "That's too bad" or "I don't know who that is" and I move on with my life. This one is different. I am very aware of who he is. I love Aladdin and every movie I've seen with him in it, has made me laugh. He was so good at bringing laughter and happiness wherever he went.
I don't really follow celebrities and their personal lives. I didn't know that he struggled with depression or that he had a drug problem. I wasn't too surprised when I found out about the drugs and alcohol, those seem to be a common problem within the celebrity circles. I was surprised to find out about the depression.
How can someone that was so good at making others laugh and smile be so sad inside. So sad to the point that they feel like they can no longer go on anymore. It made me wonder, if someone that could make anyone laugh at any time, couldn't be happy, then what chance did we have? Those of us that are just regular people going about with our regular lives and our regular struggles we face on a daily basis.
Then I realized. He is a regular guy with a regular life and regular daily struggles. Depression is something that many people are familiar with. It's not something that just the celebrities, that everyone looks up to and use as roll models, struggle with.
I have read many articles online since his passing. I've read some that talk about how awesome he was. I've read some that talk about his demons he's been fighting, for a good portion of his life. I've even read some calling him selfish for what he did.
Reading all of these articles opened a whole new door for me. The only thing I knew about him was that he was a great actor that made people happy and could do a bunch of different voices. I also knew that he was one of my favorite people to watch. Reading these articles, I've learned about his addiction and his struggle to overcome them. I've learned how big of a heart he had and how willing he was to help his friends. I learned about his depression.
I also learned how mean people can be. I read an article today about how his daughter has had to basically run away from social media because of things people were saying about her father. I understand that some people think that he took the easy way out. Leaving his loved ones behind to deal with the sorrow of him no longer being around. I understand that some people say he is now free. I understand that people think that saying things such as how he is now "free" and "in a better place" can glorify the thought of suicide.
Here's what I think. I think we need to stop being judgmental. No matter what side of the spectrum you fall on, there is a family out there that is hurting. They have lost someone that they love. Just because they lost him to suicide, doesn't mean that they aren't allowed to grieve and feel the pain and loss. The feeling that they will no longer be able to hear his contagious laugh or the warmth of a hug. The knowledge that they will no longer be able to talk to him on Birthdays or Holidays. Feel the same things that we would feel, as regular people.
Yes, his passing has hurt many, many people. I think this is a time to use his passing as a reminder that life is short. Hug your family and make sure that they know that you love them. Don't just tell them, SHOW them that they are loved. Use this as a conversation starter to let your children know that they can come to you whenever they need to. Let them know that they can always count on you and you will always be there to support them no matter what they are going through. Use this as a reminder to do something nice for someone else. Everyone has their own battles that they are fighting. Just because they seem small to you, doesn't mean that they are small to them.
Smile at a stranger today. Make a new friend or call an old one. Let's use this as a reminder to spread a little joy and happiness. There is enough darkness in the world without having to say hurtful things to people that are already going through so much already.
You never know how someone feels on the inside, so let's all try and spread a little more happiness and laughter and be a little less judgmental.