Similarities and Differences between a Major Movie Star and My Little Sister
He: wealthy, talented, funny, highly intelligent, well-educated, successful, addicted but sober, famous, admired, respected, kind, compassionate, generous, humble, beloved, depressed.
She: destitute, talented, funny, intelligent, uneducated, perpetually unemployed, addicted, unknown, disrespected, kind, compassionate, generous, humble, loved, depressed.
He: Robin Williams, of course, one of my favorite actors for decades.
She: Lynn, my little sister, whom I loved for 44 years.
He was raised in wealth and privilege, and benefitted from many opportunities earned by him through hard work and wise choices. She was raised in a broken home by an extremely abusive, poor, single mother (ignored and then disowned by our father). Having quit school by tenth grade, Lynn suffered the physical, emotional, and psychological consequences of three decades of poor choices, alcohol and drug addictions, and abusive relationships.
Lynn’s childhood and young adult years were filled with so much pain and sorrow; they shaped and filled her life with a fair share of bitterness and bouts of depression but she was a believer in Christ’s salvation and still maintained a heart full of hope in God’s promises. Skipping the details of those terrible years, I’ll jump to more recent events.
Lynn lost her common-law-husband of ten years, Ray, in August 2009. He had been good to her and, though they were poor and suffered together while he fought and eventually succumbed to a rare cancer, she did enjoy some happy times and good years with him. After Ray’s death, Lynn suffered unrelenting depression and lived with a boyfriend who developed MS and lost his job; they lost their rent house and had to move in with some of his family. After a couple of years Lynn left him and moved in with me, into my one-bedroom apartment until she could find a job and afford a place of her own. Our lifestyles and personalities were always quite different so she didn’t feel comfortable living with me for very long.
In Jan. or Feb. 2013 Lynn lost her job and her rent house and moved in with me in March, into my new two-bedroom apartment. She stayed with me several months before moving in with a man I never met. I believe she wanted to be with people and friends who drank, smoked marijuana and took other drugs. After a couple of weeks she asked me to come get her.
I never asked questions; I had lost her for seven years in the ’90’s, believing she was dead because she disappeared. I learned later she was hiding from the law because she had broken her probation. I never wanted to annoy her with questions; I just wanted her to know I would do anything for her because I love her.
We loaded all of her things into my car (almost everything she owned could be carried in one trip of my Mustang). She stayed with me for another few months and I have some wonderful memories of her helping me grade papers and cleaning my kitchen spotless because she wanted to do something nice for me. We had conversations about life and faith and even whether a person who commits suicide would go to heaven. I shared with her my firm belief that a person can never lose their salvation, even if they commit suicide, and that I believe they would go to heaven.
After a few more weeks, Lynn left again, to go stay with friends because she was so lonely. I work many hours and, again, I believe she was uncomfortable in my home because of our lifestyle differences.
By September Lynn was unemployed again but trying to become sober (she had not had a drink in a few weeks). I thought she was staying with a female friend of hers but she was actually staying in the home of a man she had dated a few times, another alcoholic and drug addict.
On the evening of October 8 her perpetually-broken-down car was used by her host and left on empty; she posted on Facebook that she felt in danger and entrapped by the man. She walked to a nearby liquor store and bought a pint of whiskey (so that man says).
Lynn hung herself with an electrical cord in the tiny closet of a tiny bedroom in that stranger’s ramshackle house sometime during the night, alone and lonely.
The differences between the two – the famous wealthy entertainer and the unknown destitute woman – are many and substantial. But to me, the most important things were the things they had in common: they were both intelligent, funny addicts who were kind, compassionate, generous, humble, loved, and depressed. I have faith Lynn is in heaven; I look forward to hugging her again, and I hope to see him there, too, some day.