Read Robin Williams' Widow's Powerful Essay About His Final Days

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Robin Williams' untimely death was as shocking as it was seemingly inexplicable. But now we have a window into the actor's last days on earth, in the form of a powerful personal essay by his widow, Susan Schneider Williams, in the scientific journal Neurology.

Williams was diagnosed with Parkinson's, but that painted an incomplete picture of the issues he was facing. He also suffered from "the little-known but deadly Lewy body disease."

"Not only did I lose my husband to LBD, I lost my best friend," Schneider Williams writes. "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."

The essay
covers his deteriorating mental condition, his inability to remember lines, and the legitimately hellish-sounding effects the disease had on his mental stability. It's hearbreaking, but worth a read if you want a window into a tragic and touching love story.

Lewy body disease is a phrase that covers a pair of related conditions. Those are dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson's disease dementia, according to the Lewy Body Dementia Association. The association estimates that the disease affects 1.4 million Americans.

"The earliest symptoms of these two diseases differ, but reflect the same underlying biological changes in the brain," the association writes. "Over time, people with both diagnoses will develop very similar cognitive, physical, sleep, and behavioral symptoms."
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