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.
….so you left me alone. What Dreams May Come
I’m sitting at my desk this morning trying to find the words, thinking if I can write it all out, the words won’t threaten “the life they belong to”.
My world is smaller and dimmer this morning. My heart is hurting. Tears sting my eyes unexpectedly. I’m heartbroken and grief stricken. I’m never more than just the wrong word from collapsing into tears. And I have cried so many in the last 12 hours.
I’m sitting on my couch last night after dinner, watching tv, and I pick up my phone to check Facebook, and the news of Robin Williams’s death had just broken. “No….NO!”, I’m thinking. Scrolling down and it’s on every page, every news outlet is carrying the story. “This isn’t a joke or a hoax.” It hits me like a punch in the chest. My eyes well up and I bolt for my bedroom. Sobbing, devastated.
No, I didn’t know him. But he’s been with me almost my whole life. I remember his first appearance on Happy Days which spun off into Mork & Mindy (which I watched faithfully). I know every movie, every television show. And all those things you didn’t know About Robin Williams, I knew. His brilliance, his comedic genius, saved me when I couldn’t breathe. The lines in his movies gave me words when I had none. To me he was a hero, an icon, and one of my very favorite people.
My heart is breaking and my world just isn’t as bright today. And all I can think is I hope, Mr. Williams….Robin….that you’ll see my baby girl and make her laugh. I hope you’re in the same Heaven my Dad is.
There’s a scene in Good Morning Vietnam that Robin’s character plays What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong and as the music fades out and Louis finishes with….”oh…..yeahhhhhhh”, Robin sings along and you can see that he truly believes it is a wonderful world, even as he broadcasts in the middle of a war zone. That song was what I danced with my Dad to at my wedding and since his death 2 years ago, it always brings tears to my eyes. Now it will because I think it fits Robin Williams’s life as well.
Depression is a lying bastard. I’m so sorry that he couldn’t find his way out of the darkness. The funny man that could make so many others laugh was hurting inside. Unfair. Heartbreaking.
The world will never be the same. But I will look up at the stars. I will look for you….