*picture courtesy of Dave Alvarez Studios
Robin Williams died this week…
I know this isn’t news, or it shouldn’t be by now. In the world we live in, the death of anyone even remotely famous rips though our social networks like the ragged edge of a knife, leaving tatters of sorrow in its wake. Robin Williams was far more than a simple celebrity though, and I think the wound of his passing is going to be felt for a long time to come.
I feel I should say that the death of a celebrity to me is usually no sadder than the passing of any other near stranger. Like any artist to leave this world, you mourn the loss for the people that knew them, and grieve for the wonder they will no longer bring to the world.
This was not what happened to me on Monday. The closest experience I can compare it to is the loss of a family member, someone who would visit a few times a year and fill my head with funny stories and grand adventures. He was someone who taught you as well as entertained you, and made the weight of the world seem a little bit lighter every time you see him.
This Monday a knife was plunged into a shining light deep in the heart of my childhood. The memories are there, but the warmth from them has dimmed, and I’m not sure when they’ll regain even a shadow of their former comfort.
Robin Williams accomplished many things over the course of his long and storied career: he made wishes come true, he made us all realize what it meant to be human, and he showed us over and over again that sometimes a man’s greatest strength lies in the ability to embrace his inner child.
Well, that inner child inside of me is grieving, as is the adult, and I know my experience is far from unique. There are countless others out there in the world today, waking up every day with the knowledge that something is broken now, and it might never be fully right again.
I can’t imagine what it’s like to suffer from depression, to live a life so devoid of hope that ending it seemed like the only escape. Perhaps the fact that he struggled against those demons for so many years before succumbing says something about how strong he really was. Or maybe it’s a statement about how we, as the people who had received so much from him, failed to give enough back. Honestly, all I know for sure is that a precious life was lost to us this week, and I can only pray he now finds the peace in the afterlife he was denied in life.
However, even though he is gone from this world, a part of him will always live on in our memories. Remember his triumphs, remember his flaws, and most of all, remember the joy he gave so many of us.