In the midst of the thousands of social media posts I read yesterday, one was especially striking as a recently divorced, divorce attorney.
Robin Williams was quoted as saying, “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel alone.”
In some of his stand up comedy routines he joked about divorce:
‘Instead of getting married again, I’m going to find a woman I don’t like and just give her my house,’ and
‘Alimony comes from the Latin word meaning to rip a man’s genitals out through his wallet.’
While it may seem funny on stage, behind the curtain Robin’s family suffered through 2 divorces that reportedly cost him over 20 million dollars in settlement.
Robin Williams married 3 times, most recently in 2011. His first marriage ended after he slept with the live-in nanny, who then became his 2nd wife for 19 years before they divorced. With his first two wives, Robin Williams has 3 children ranging in age from 19 to 28.
Through drugs, affairs, depression and a demanding career, Robin Williams maintained father-child relationships appearing to have been the best relationships in his life. I am sure there is more than one dad I’ve worked with who thought about becoming Mrs. Doubtfire.
To understand his role in life as a divorced parent is to have a better appreciation for Mrs. Doubtfire’s letter to Katie:
Below is the actual verbiage.
“Dear Mrs. Doubtfire, two months ago, my mom and dad decided to separate. Now they live in different houses. My brother Andrew says that we aren’t to be a family anymore. Is this true? Did I lose my family? Is there anything I can do to get my parents back together? Sincerely, Katie McCormick.”
Oh, my dear Katie. You know, some parents, when they’re angry, they get along much better when they don’t live together. They don’t fight all the time, and they can become better people and much better mummies and daddies for you. And sometimes they get back together. And sometimes they don’t, dear. And if they don’t, don’t blame yourself. Just because they don’t love each other anymore, doesn’t mean that they don’t love you. There are all sorts of different families, Katie. Some families have one mommy; some families have one daddy, or two families. And some children live with their uncle or aunt. Some live with their grandparents, and some children live with foster parents. And some live in separate homes, in separate neighborhoods, in different areas of the country – and they may not see each other for days, or weeks, months… even years at a time. But if there’s love, dear… those are the ties that bind, and you’ll have a family in your heart, forever. All my love to you, poppet, you’re going to be all right… bye-bye.
While I believe it’s impossible to take away someone’s emotional pain, sense of loneliness and despair, may we all pause and consider how our relationships with our children’s other parent, our children or even our own parents, affect not only us …… but them.
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