I’ve stared at this blinking cursor for a while, I’ve saved and re-saved this draft, and I’ve deleted more than I’ve written. My heart is heavy and I feel as if I have lost a part of my character, a part of my childhood. The world lost a legend, a genius. Robin Williams is a household name. He was in so many shows, films, and on so many stages that I honestly cannot say there should be an adult alive (and even a child) who does not know his name, who has not laughed at his hand, who hasn’t absorbed some part of his character into their soul. It is simply impossible.
I have never met Robin Williams, as I daresay most of normal society hasn’t, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t taken with me parts of him from the moments he shared with the world. Great actors and great writers do that, they let you borrow a little bit of themselves to take with you on your own personal journey. I cried many tears over the news of his passing. Tears because he passed, and tears because of how he passed – that he felt so alone and so lost. My heart breaks for the struggles he went through.
I’ve seen and fallen in love with so much of his work that it’s difficult to pinpoint a favorite. However, there are a few that have touched me and have stayed with me just a bit more than the others.
My first date with my now husband, 22 years ago, was to see Aladdin. I was 14 years old and loved Disney movies, not to mention that was the only movie playing my mother would let me attend with a boy. I remember looking at my husband and thinking to myself, if he can laugh at a big blue genie with me then I’ll have to get to know him better. In that sense, Robin Williams was there on my first date with my husband and brought us closer with his profound ability to make someone laugh. Dead Poets Society instilled into me the courage I needed to write, to let myself be me, to go against the status quo. It truly inspired me in so many deeply personal ways that I cannot name them all.
There is one movie that touched me so much so, I still call upon it to get over bad days. That movie is What Dreams May Come. If you’ve read the 100 things about me, then you’ve read that I have an irrational fear of dying. Not how I will die, but dying itself and the fear of nonexistence – it’s a fear I’ve had as long as I can remember. What if my faith is wrong? I ‘what if’ myself into a panic attack that can only be compressed by my anxiety medications and the memory of this movie. I never read the book because for one, I didn’t know there was one, but for two I didn’t want to ruin the movie. My husband, knowing this very real fear of mine, introduced this movie to me years ago – back in the VCR days. I watched it repeatedly and it captivated me. I can’t say it healed me, but it has made dealing with that fear a great deal easier. His role in that movie, his dedication, his faith, his love, his determination to make sure his wife wasn’t alone moved me leaps and bounds.
Yes, Robin Williams will always be a household name and his movies will live on in the hearts of millions. Despite or even because of his illness, he successfully touched us all.