Robin Williams' widow Susan Schneider Williams wrote a moving essay about her late husband's dementia for medical journal Neurology. She said she hoped her article, published Tuesday, "will help [doctors] understand [their] patients along with their spouses and caregivers a little more ... perhaps this will add a few more faces behind the why you do what you do."
Williams committed suicide in August 2014 after battling Lewy body disease, a form of dementia that affects about 1.5 million people.
Williams "died from suicide ... at the end of an intense, confusing, and relatively swift persecution at the hand of this disease's symptoms and pathology. He was not alone in his traumatic experience with this neurologic disease," his wife wrote. She called him "a larger-than-life spirit who was inside the body of a normal man with a human brain."
She also spoke movingly about the relationship the two shared, recalling memories of the beginning of their friendship. "Not only did I lose my husband to LBD, I lost my best friend," she said. "Robin and I had in each other a safe harbor of unconditional love that we had both always longed for. For 7 years together, we got to tell each other our greatest hopes and fears without any judgment, just safety. As we said often to one another, we were each other's anchor and mojo: that magical elixir of feeling grounded and inspired at the same time by each other's presence." She continued,
One of my favorite bedrock things we would do together was review how our days went ... It did not matter if we were both working at home, traveling together, or if he was on the road. We would discuss our joys and triumphs, our fears and insecurities, and our concerns. Any obstacles life threw at us individually or as a couple were somehow surmountable because we had each other."
She goes on to refer to the dementia as "chemical warfare" and a "terrorist" inside his brain.