O Captain, My Captain

August 12, 2014 at 7:48 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

I had a different blog post all set to publish last night and then, well, I found out Robin Williams died.  I was on my way home from the gym and checked Facebook just because, and that’s how I learned the news.  Please bear with me as I – like almost everyone else – take the time to reflect on how this stranger affected my own life.

So it goes.

I’ve always felt a little weird for being sad when certain celebrities have passed away because I obviously didn’t know them personally and they never even had the foggiest clue that I existed.  It’s still surreal though and when people of great talent such as Hunter S. Thompson, Michael Jackson, Brittany Murphy, Whitney Houston and Heath Ledger passed away it hit me in a strange way because I had grown up surrounded by their works.  This though – this one is different.  It truly hurts and I’m at a loss as to fully understand why.  Perhaps it’s because someone who brought me so many moments of pure laughter, joy and delight felt that he didn’t have enough of those things in his own life to make it worth continuing to live.  Perhaps it’s because I wish that someone, anyone, could’ve helped him in the ways he’s helped so many others.  Or perhaps it’s because he didn’t deserve to be so unhappy and it breaks my heart that depression is such an abyss for so many people.  I’ve never heard a bad story about him and from every account he was as good-natured, friendly, funny and genuine in his day-to-day life as he was in some of his most famous movies.  Which I guess makes it that much harder to understand how he could have been masking so much pain behind his smile but I suppose sometimes those who smile the widest have the most to cover up.

I literally grew up watching and listening to Robin Williams.  Aladdin is one of my all-time favorite movies and to this day I don’t like watching it with anyone else because I quote and sing along to basically every single line.  Mrs. Doubtfire, Jack and Flubber were of course other childhood classics and Hook is something I still watch around the holidays every year.  The World According to Garp, Dead Poets Society, The Fisher King, Patch Adams, The Birdcage and Good Will Hunting showed not only his range but also his ability to transform on screen to something other than what we would expect.  Even as I grew up I still enjoyed him in “kids” movies, from Happy Feet to Night at the Museum.  And Jesus – these were just some of his movies I’ve seen that I can name off the top of my head.  I’ll be doing a marathon this weekend and look forward to many other films I’ve yet to see that were graced with his presence.

He’s got a few final films coming out that are in post-production but of course I wish there could be more.  I wish a lot of things.  I wish he had lived a happy life full of laughter until he was an old, old man grinning in his bed.  I wish he hadn’t felt so hopeless that he ended his own life.  In the end though, that’s kind of selfish of me, isn’t it?  I didn’t know the man and I have no idea what sort of demons he faced on a daily basis.  All I do know is that he was loved and he will be missed.  The world is better off for him having lived in it and I’m grateful I was somehow, even if minutely, a part of that.

“Please, don’t worry so much.  Because in the end, none of us have very long on this Earth.  Life is fleeting.”

-Robin Williams in Jack

Note: If you or someone you love feels like the laughter has permanently gone out of life, please go to http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or call 1.800.273.8255.  Help is out there.


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