Robin Williams’ Son Opens Up About Grieving, Suicide For New Campaign

By Kelly Burch 06/07/19

The legendary entertainer's son opened up about focusing on his own healing since losing his father as part of an awareness campaign.

Robin Williams’ Son Zak
Photo via YouTube

Robin Williams’ oldest son, Zak Williams, is speaking out about his grief and moving on after suicide as part of a campaign to support people who have had a loved one take their own life. 

Williams, 36, appears on the Instagram page for FacesOfFortitude

“There’s no education in place to tell you how to deal with this," Williams said in the first post. "To balance how to grieve privately with your family and then also to have to grieve publicly. While it was nice to be heard, I was spending time on the outer layer instead of on the inside. It wasn’t just the survivor network for me, it was the whole world.”

Robin Williams took his own life in August 2014 at the age of 63. In addition to Zak, Williams left behind two other children, Cody and Zelda, who are younger than Zak. 

In another post, Zak talked about how he has had to focus on his own healing over the past few years. 

“I started to feel bad for myself, I was seeking solace and healing through my grieving,” he said. “Once I took out all the inputs and elements of self medications, it all became really raw. It was super painful. I had to stop thinking big and expansive to heal everyone and look inward. I found a lot in there. I realized I wasn’t broken. There was a lot of strength I didn’t know was in there.”

This isn’t the first time that Williams has spoken about his father’s death and their relationship. He told a biographer that is was difficult to watch his father’s well-being fade, according to Vanity Fair

“It was really difficult to see someone suffering so silently,” he said. “But I think that there were a series of things that stacked, that led to an environment that he felt was one of pain, internal anguish, and one that he couldn’t get out of. And the challenge in engaging with him when he was in that mindset was that he could be soothed, but it’s really hard when you then go back into an environment of isolation. Isolation is not good for Dad and people like him. It’s actually terrible.”

Williams also told the biographer that his father carried a lot of guilt about ending his marriage to the mother of his children, despite the fact that the kids told him he needed to move on. 

“He couldn’t hear it. He could never hear it. And he wasn’t able to accept it,” Williams said. “He was firm in his conviction that he was letting us down. And that was sad because we all loved him so much and just wanted him to be happy.”

Today, Williams serves on the board of Bring Change to Mind, an organization started by actress Glenn Close to reduce the stigma around mental illness. 

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.