Yes, the blog is about politics but, I choose to invoke a little known clause in the smart-ass writer’s handbook that stipulates any big story is fair game and the death of Robin Williams is reason enough for such a departure from the norm. Who would have thought we would ever find ourselves pitying a man like Robin Williams; someone so full of life and one of the very few for whom superlatives like “genius” aren’t quite adequate to describe? Yet, we should all feel a bit of pity and sadness for his suffering in battling depression.
I have always been dubious about how we mourn celebrity deaths. After the deaths of Princess Diana and John Kennedy, Jr, the snarky cynic in me just couldn’t see why so many people openly wept for people they only ever saw on TV. I wonder how can you mourn for people who would probably have you escorted away by security if you showed up at their door? However, with the death of Robin Williams, the lesson has finally hit home. Now I get it.
I clearly remember the night I saw his big break on Happy Days and was just blown away. I thought in my little ten year old brain, “Wow! Who IS this guy?” (Didn’t we all?) He has been a fixture of American entertainment ever since.
In his passing, there are lessons here for us all. If a man like RW, who made so many of us so happy and breathed energy and a passion for life into the characters he portrayed, can suffer terribly from depression, then literally no one is immune from it. If someone we know is suffering, we have to do everything we can to support them. Honestly, is there anyone reading this who wishes they couldn’t turn the clock back to a week ago, throw their arms around him tell him how much he is loved? How much he means to us?
I am not sure if I have ever been this moved by the death of anyone outside of immediate family and at the same time I am conflicted: should I cry like a baby that he is gone? Should I remember some of his best bits and laugh my ass off? Should I tremble with fear that depression could fell such a heroic soul? One thing is certain: there was never one like him before and there will never be another. Rest in Peace Robin Williams and thanks for all the laughter.