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Remembering Mr. Robin Williams.

This week, a significant influence in my life has passed away. I have never met him but he has been a constant companion for years.

When he first appeared on TV on the Mork and Mindy show, I watched it occasionally but I was not drawn to it. Those were the years I was in London and I think many other things crowded out television viewing in my life then.

Throughout this week, as I go about my usual activities, my thoughts kept turning to him. Suddenly, I will remember a movie he starred in and I will exclaim to myself in disgust. How could I have forgotten that he was in this movie or that movie.

I think for most of us, we will remember him in Mrs. Doubtfire or in Aladdin as the genie. Bicentennial Man tugs my heart strings. The loyalty of the character to the family and I am a person who is ‘big’ on loyalty.

One of the movies I almost forgot he was in was Hook. And the scene I remember well was the one he sat down to have a meal with the lost boys, the bantering and the food fight. I loved it because it says no matter how old one is, one can still tap inside ourselves and find the ‘child’

But my absolute favourite movie of his must be Dead Poets Society. The character of Mr. Keating inspired me to try to be different. It spurs me on to find ways to make a class an adventure.

Whenever I watch a movie, I do not do it as a spectator. I totally immerse myself into it. With the exception, of course, of some movies which are not worth the effort. After each viewing, I do not walk away and forget. I will usually mull on the plot, the character, the acting, the whys and the wherefores.

I thought a lot about why Robin Williams was so good at what he does. When he portrays a character, he makes it come alive. He may be playing a ‘funny’ role, but there will be moments when you actually catch a glimpse of his seriousness or the vulnerability. I loved him in The Birdcage. He was funny and yet there was an underlying sadness that goes with it.

Whatever I say will not do credit for what he has done for many in the world. He made us forget that we are human, with the usual humdrum life but at the same time, he reminded us that we ARE human.

Why did he take his own life? It is not for anyone of us to even consider that question. In all of us, there are bleak moments, some pummel us so far and deep down that rabbit hole that we forget what is light. And sometimes, God will send people to shine a light in the hole so we may find our way out. Sometimes, we close our eyes so tight for fear we will encounter demons in that hole that we do not see that light. I feel such sadness that he had shone so many rays of light into so many people’s lives but he was unable to see it when he needed it most. Before someone shoots me for this statement, let me clarify, he was unable, I did not say that he didn’t want to. Depression, deep sadness, disease – I cannot comment because I am not an expert.

Someone told me recently that I am a very positive person. Or so I am perceived to be. To be a positive person, one has to wrestle with the negative. This can be a daily affair. When one is succeeding, people say, you are positive but when one is not, I will be perceived to be a negative person. We all have our demons to slay, our own monkeys on our back. Sometimes these monkeys are downright aggressive.

No, I cannot explain why we have lost him, I really do not know. But I NEED to have some sort of explanation. The best I can come up with is, he gave away so much happiness that he did not keep any for himself.

Goodbye, my Captain. Tears will still continue to roll down my face for you. I have never known you but I have known you.


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