A woman has opened up about the time she was comforted by Robin Williams at an airport shortly after her husband died by suicide.
Kate Lyon Osher wrote for The Mighty about her moving encounter with the late actor.
After her husband Greg took his own life, she “went on a travel quest of sorts, scattering his ashes where he requested and trying to piece my life and my soul back together as best I could.”
She explained: “Post 9/11 it wasn’t always easy to get a tupperware of your late husband’s ashes through TSA security, and at LAX one afternoon I found myself on the receiving end of an agent with a power trip like no other.
“After several threats telling me I was going to have to toss the ashes and me going ballistic and falling into hysterics and finally having a real cop come in and look at the death certificate I always carried with me, I made it to the airport bar still crying and clutching my little container.
“I sat in a corner table facing the wall so no one could see how hysterical I was, with my whiskey on the rocks providing support, and I felt a hand on my shoulder. A soft voice stated, ‘Miss, I just want to be sure you are OK. I see you are traveling alone, and I saw what happened, and I just really want to be sure you are OK.’
“Through my tears, I could place the voice but couldn’t actually believe Robin Williams was just casually strolling through LAX and would actually take the time to stop to see if I was OK.”
She explained her situation to him, and he replied: “Addiction is a real b**ch. Mental illness and depression are the mother of all b**ches. I am so sorry for all the pain your husband was in. I’m so sorry for the pain you are in now. But it sounds like you have family and friends and love. And that tips the scale a bit, right?”
It turned out they were on the same flight and Robin made her laugh by making fun of the security guard who’d caused her to break down earlier. She explained: “In a playful way, though. Not insulting (even though the guy totally deserved to be insulted). He told me I had a wonderful laugh. A beautiful smile. And when we parted ways, he hugged me. With his famously hairy arms, he gave me a huge, warm, bear hug, and it sustained me. It was a moment I think about all the time.”
What an amazing man. His presence and kindness will be truly missed.
It’s a devastating fact that men die by suicide 3 times more often than women here in the U.S. And according to AFSP’s suicide statistics, on average, there are 132 suicides per day.
But there is help out there, and if you or someone you know is struggling, please call 911, go to the nearest emergency room, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis center, or text MHA to 741741 at the Crisis Text Line.