The death of Robin Williams surprised millions. The fact that he died at his own hand came as shock to thousands who have lived through such deaths of a loved one.

I am one of those and through Williams’ death I have found a cathartic healing and am suddenly able to see my brother’s problems in life in a better light.

You see, Adam had the cards stacked against him when he was a youngster. While it would be years before it was called ‘Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,’ or ADHD, Adam was labeled as hyper and medicated as a result.

This forever changed my brother’s personality. Not only did he become more aggressive as the years progressed, he was also open to experimenting with drugs and alcohol, where I wasn’t.

It was while serving in the Army in South Korea, Adam would find a drug, that I imagine replaced the medicated feelings of his youth. Heroin would rule a majority of his adult life until his death from a self-inflicted methadone patch overdose.

For the four years between his death and Robin Williams’ passing I’ve been angry in one form or another at my younger brother. I see now though, that my anger isn’t the answer – rather its my forgiveness.

Adam was brilliant, an intellectual and gifted human with a grand capacity to empathize with others. Perhaps that empathic quality is what got the better of him and thus he sought refuge from the immense pressure and pain this gift gave him.

I can only speculate on this now – and that would be a waste of time.

But what I can do is forgive him for turning off his light long before it was due to burn out. I can also forgive myself for not being the loving brother and understanding how difficult his life had been since early childhood.

And thank you Robin Williams, you brought an understanding to me far beyond any of the laughter you’ve left behind.

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