12:41:49 pm on
Wednesday 21 Nov 2018

A Special Visit
AJ Robinson

I recently saw a documentary on the life and career of Robin Williams (above, top). Although entertaining and often amusing, sadness seasoned the film. Williams faced many demons, which, it seems, may have ultimately pushed him over the edge to suicide.


The irony of comedy.

Isn’t it strange? The greatest clowns are often the most tormented. It’s a theme repeated in popular literature.

Robin Williams wished for cremation, his ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean. Shortly after his ashes were scattered, a friend of his visited his son, Zak. The friend suggested they go for a swim, in the Pacific Ocean. It was quite the special moment for both men, to be at one with his friend and his dad.

I just had my special moment. Jo Ann, my wife, and I are on Martha’s Vineyard for a vacation and to kick off release of my new book, The Long Journey Home. The Champagne Book Group publishes it. Scheduled release date is September 2018.


A sharing ritual.

As part of the trip to Martha’s Vineyard, I stopped by the stretch of beach where we scattered the ashes of my brother, Steve. It was a wet rainy day. We were out cruising around the island, with my niece, Heidi. We needed to separate for a short time before going to dinner. She wanted to go visit her mom. I asked to swing by the ocean and visit Steve.

Heidi parked close to the beach. Because of the rain, Jo Ann elected to stay in the car with Antonio, our foster son. I got out, pulling off my wedding ring and leaving it on my seat, as I did. Jo asked why, but I couldn’t answer, my mind was elsewhere. Heidi and I walked along the sidewalk, the rain sprinkled across us. Finally, we came to a bench that Steve loved. I paused to pat it and then asked if this was where we’d scattered his ashes.

Heidi confirmed it was. I set off, hiking down the gentle slope until I stood before the breaking waves. The ocean was rough. Raising my hands, I sought to embrace the wind, and opened my heart to Steve. I told him of our trip. I told him of my book. I told him how he had helped me. I spoke of my love. I paused for a moment before I felt ready. Off went my shoes and socks, over my head went my shirt and down came my shorts, but I had a bathing suit on underneath.


Calm settled over me.

Stepping into the surf, I waded out into the water, deep enough I could kneel down and immerse myself. I was with Steve and I wept; calm settled over me. The waves were hard, the seas choppy, yet all I felt was serenity. I was there for at least several minutes and then waded ashore to dry off and dress. Heidi had waited patiently. She’d been curious, but had respected my privacy. I explained my actions.

Later, back at our cabin, Jo asked about it. I explained the origin of the event and its effect on me. She accepted it.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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