August 12, 2014 12:48 pm

“He gave me comfort” says Winnipeg woman of chance meeting with Robin Williams

WINNIPEG: When Tara Brousseau Snider’s husband took his own life seven years ago it was a kind gesture by Robin Williams she says pulled her through one of her darkest hours. Robert died by suicide in the winter of 2007. Shortly after the 54-year-old’s death Brousseau Snider flew out to Sunshine Village to be with her son who was working there.  That’s where she ran into Williams.

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“I was going up the gondola and I was crying and crying,” said Brousseau Snider. “And I got off and there at the top of the hill was Robin Williams.  He looked at me…and he came over to me and had the warmest eyes I have ever seen and he didn’t start to be funny…he knew I was suffering and he stood on the hill with me for a very long time. He shooed everyone away and he just stood and gave me comfort.”

Brousseau Snider said the encounter with Williams, who had openly battled his own depression for years, happened just three weeks after her husband’s suicide.

“It was the turning point. If Robin Williams cared enough to see that I had pain…. and he came over… and he wasn’t the self we all knew. He was the person that knew pain, that could give comfort. And that was actually the point where I knew maybe things could get better.”

Williams died Monday of an apparent suicide.

“He realized I wasn’t at a point where I could talk. He just sat with me and he commented how it was lovely to be in the air, nice to be on the mountain, but he didn’t talk and that was a beautiful thing,” says Brousseau Snider.

Brousseau Snider says his movies and shows were very much a part of her and her family’s life.

“You can see that he has touched so many, and we are all probably grieving.”

Brousseau Snider is now the executive director of the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba.

She says she hopes Williams death will get people talking more about mental health and even, do what Williams did for her.

“If you are worried about someone, do what Robin did for me. Go stand with them…go give them the warm eyes.”

ORGANIZATIONS WHO CAN HELP:

Crisis stabilization unit 204-940-3633

Klinic 24 hour suicide crisis line 204-786-8686

Manitoba suicide line 1-877-435-7170

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