The name Robin Williams was recognized and adored well beyond the confines of Hollywood. On the other hand, he was keeping his struggles with his mental and physical health a secret from his wife, which caused their relationship to deteriorate as a direct result.
In 2007, Williams and his future wife, Susan Schneider, happened to meet one other by coincidence in an Apple shop. After making a comment about having spotted a guy in the shop, Schneider took a second look and discovered that the person she had seen was Williams.
She provided a description of him as being stealthy as he navigated the shop while dressed in a camouflage pattern. She turned around as she was leaving the shop and saw that he was beaming at her. She realized that he was happy to see her.
After that, Schneider made the decision to approach Williams and have a dialogue with him. She approached him and inquired about the effectiveness of the camouflage clothing he was wearing in keeping his identity hidden. In his response, he pointed out that it wasn’t functioning properly and stated:
“You found me out.”
Williams was 56 years old at the time, and after experiencing two prior marriages that did not work out, he was relieved to discover a love that would survive at such an advanced age. Both he and Schneider had an intense passion for one another’s company.
Schneider said that one of their favorite activities was visiting museums together since she was very knowledgeable about art and Williams was very interested in history and could teach her a lot about a variety of topics. Additionally, she verified that his demeanor at home and on stage was distinct from one another.
She stated that she would have never married a guy like Williams was on stage, but she did acknowledge that she enjoyed how calm, thoughtful, and cerebral he was in the privacy of their house. The comedian’s wife said that she would never have married a man like Williams was on stage.
Because of how clearly their love for one another shone through, even the priest who officiated their wedding remarked on how attractive the couple looked together. He said that their wedding day was “extremely peaceful” and that it was a nice day.
Following that, he said that both Schneider and Williams were actively participating in their ceremony, which was something that he found enjoyable. He described how he pushed the couple to write their own vows for their wedding, which they did as per his recommendation.
The couple’s immediate family members, friends, and neighbors were the only guests at their wedding. The Reverend Dalton, who presided over the event, also shared the following:
They were so kind as to ask both my wife and me to remain for the wedding meal, which was a wonderful gesture on their part. In most cases, we merely depart around twenty minutes after the ceremony has over.
The first two years of the couple’s marriage were filled with happiness and joy, but in the third year of their marriage, Williams’ health started to show some peculiar symptoms. Williams started to become aware of the fact that he was unable to memorize scripts.
In addition, when he was having trouble sleeping at night, he groaned about having stomach aches and shook uncontrollably. Nevertheless, the overwhelming fear that Schneider’s spouse was going through was the thing that stood out the most to Schneider.
Scheider expressed worry about Williams after noting that her worried behavior was out of character and that it was a surprise to see her in that state. What was going on with the love of her life was beyond her ability to comprehend in its entirety. In due time, Williams was determined to be suffering from Lewy body dementia (LBD).
It may be challenging for both the patient and the caregiver to manage the symptoms of LBD, which is exactly what happened to Scheider and Williams. The symptoms of LBD can very often. However, the pair made an effort to take pleasure in the mundane aspects of their lives together, such as participating in social gatherings and sharing meals with their close friends or even simply holding hands with one another.
Williams’ self-confidence sank to new lows as a direct result of his failure to remember his lines, and Schneider recounted the following:
“I felt helpless and numb as I stood there in the pitch black without any idea of what was happening to my spouse. Was there a single point of infection, such as a single terrorist, or was he exposed to a mixed bag of diseases all at once? Schneider claimed that he had heard him say on several occasions that he wanted to restart his brain and that he was unable to get pleased about any negative test results that physicians provided him because he and he knew, on some level, that something was amiss.
Despite this, she was never seen apart from her husband’s side. She claimed that even through the most difficult periods, they battled against his cancer together because their “foundation of friendship and love was our armor.” She conveyed this by saying that the phrase.
Williams was first given a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, but he realized that it couldn’t be the true diagnosis since he felt as if he was losing his mind. He knew that the actual diagnosis had to be something else. It wasn’t until much later that he was given the diagnosis of LBD, which made perfect sense to him.
Williams was having trouble understanding what was going on with him prior to the diagnosis of LBD, and he questioned his physicians about whether he had Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Throughout all of these difficult moments, Schneider was there to support him.
Even though Williams had physical therapy, practiced yoga and meditation, and rode his bike regularly to maintain his health, he was not able to retain his health in good shape for an excessively long period of time. Even trying to hypnotize himself didn’t work for him.
Schneider said that Williams had a little tremor in his left hand that would come and go, moved in a shuffle-like manner, and sometimes found himself immobilized, feeling irritated when he could eventually move again. Williams also walked in a way that resembled a shuffle.
During the course of his fight, Scheider reported experiencing virtually all of the more than 40 symptoms associated with LBD; however, he never had any hallucinations. Scheider believed this was due to the fact that he was never hospitalized. She also confessed the following:
I had the impression that he was suffocating under the weight of his symptoms, and that I was suffocating with him.
Despite the fact that she felt as if she was about to drown, Schneider made it her job to stay by Williams’ side and make their last days together as wonderful as they possibly could, all the while maintaining her attention on Williams’ quest to better health.
During Williams’ sickness, his doctor advised him and Schneider to think about sleeping in separate beds as a precautionary measure. Williams then questioned Schneider whether this indicated that they were going their own ways, to which Schneider said that this would not be the case.
Although they were instructed to sleep in separate rooms by the doctor, Schneider and Williams continued to retain their love and dedication for one another. Nevertheless, on the night of the terrible event, everything changed for the pair.
It was just another night for Schneider and Williams, and they were ready to turn in for the night. When Williams’s wife refused his offer to give her a foot massage, she noted that he seemed irritated but didn’t say anything to her directly about it.
After that, he got himself ready for bed and wished his beloved a good night. However, he did come back to the room on more than one occasion, once to shut the door to his closet and once to get his iPad. The fact that he was showing an interest in Schneider’s iPad made Schneider very pleased. She speculated that it was a portent of future happiness and success.
The next day, Schneider came to the shocking realization that the evening before had been the final one she would ever spend with her spouse. She left their residence the next day while Williams was still sleeping, but she instructed his aide to inform him to phone Schneider as soon as he got up.
At 11:30, Rebecca, Williams’ assistant, contacted Schneider to inform her that Williams had not yet awoken and that she was concerned about him. As soon as Schneider realized that anything was wrong, he instructed Rebecca to check on him and see if he was okay.
After she returned home, Schneider said that she was unable to see Williams beyond the emergency personnel who were attempting to rescue him after he had already committed himself. She was able to go to his side finally and said her prayers beside him. In addition to that, she let him know that she had forgiven him.
After that, the celebrity’s wife came clean and confessed that she had the impression her husband didn’t want to go to the neuropsychological testing center that he was supposed to see one week after he committed himself. She expressed her agreement with his viewpoint by saying:
“I believe that he did not want to depart. I believe he had the notion, “I’m going to be locked away and never get out,” but I’m not really sure.
Schneider expressed her appreciation to have been given the opportunity to hear some nice words from him in his last moments with her. She went so far as to say that the love she had for Williams was “what she had always envisioned love to be.”
Since Williams took his own life, Williams’ wife stated that time no longer passed in the same manner for her as it had before. She also said that his last words to her continue to reverberate throughout her heart, and she has a renewed desire for purpose as a result.
In reference to Williams’s decision to end his life, Schneider said that she did not have any ill will against him since he would have had three more years to live, but they would not have been healthy years.
Schneider is now a teacher at the William’s School in Norfolk, Virginia, where she is able to channel her quest for finding purpose in the world. Despite the fact that Schneider’s husband has been at rest for all eternity for the last eight years, she has not given up on her endeavor.