One of my idols, my heroes, one of my favorite people died this year. There has been a lot of speculation about the hows or the whys. Some news outlets report that he had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Other say his autopsy showed something called Lewy Body dementia. Still others have speculated endlessly about clinical depression. But for me, none of that matters. The only thing I know to be absolutely true is that Robin Williams took his life because he couldn’t see past the darkness.
It’s been four months and every time I see a movie preview, or an article, or a bit on social media all I can feel is a broken heart. His daughter Zelda has been amazing and strong and helped orchestrate a memorial for him in San Francisco in September. There’s a new article out in Time about his son Zak speculating on life after his Dad’s passing. I get it. I thought the same things after my own Dad’s passing 2 1/2 years ago. “He would have liked this.” “He would have laughed at that.” And the one that invariably sits me down every single time: “He’ll never see another movie or attend another event, or watch the fireworks on New Year’s Eve.”
Robin Williams wasn’t my family, or even my friend. He never knew me, but he made a huge difference in my life. He was one of my idols. One of my heroes. One of my very favorite people on Earth. When my world collapsed in 2001, it was his movies, his light, his words that gave me something to hold on to when I couldn’t breathe. I grew up with him. Good Morning Vietnam was the first movie I saw that brought the heartache of war to me. I saw it in the theater and went home and cried.
Every time I’m flipping through the channels and I see Good Will Hunting, or Jacob the Liar, or Mrs. Doubtfire playing I’m torn because those are my favorite movies and my life is so much more complete having had the inspiration to “Rage at the dying of the light” and “Carpe Diem” from O’ Captain, My Captain, John Keating. But all I can ever imagine feeling right now is a broken heart.
My world is, and will forever be, a little quieter. My heart is still broken.