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Monday, August 18, 2014

O Captain! My Captain!

A week ago, smiles around the world faded when news broke that Robin Williams had passed away. Everyone was shocked as the details of his suicide were released, but as the pieces came together and painted a picture of the final months of his life it kind of began to make sense… or no sense at all depending how you looked at it. It has been really difficult to watch and read what everyone has been saying about him and what a great person he was; it was the type of news you heard and simply didn’t want to believe, but I guess this is a testament to his impact across our lives.

Of all the tributes out there, President Obama captured him best: "Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most - from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets.”

No one I know had the pleasure of knowing him, personally, and yet he has been in all of our hearts and in our homes our whole lives. To me, there has always been something very human and real about him, like you could just strike up a conversation while waiting for the bus as perfect strangers and it wouldn’t be weird… OK, well maybe a little weird or it wouldn’t be him!

Just this weekend I read an article and learned something new about him that was really touching. For every movie or event that he did, he had a requirement that the company hiring him also had to hire a certain number of homeless people to work. One network aired his movie “License to Wed” on Sunday and, after reading about this, I found myself looking at his work through different eyes already.

In 2012, DH and I went to a show at Place des Arts called "An Evening Sit Down with Robin Williams and David Steinberg". Initially I had my reservations about going because I couldn’t imagine how a 2-hour long interview could be entertaining, and then I remembered – it was with Robin Williams! How could it NOT be entertaining? And it was! He was very manic, sporadic and hilariously funny. He was also very open about his struggles with addiction. He captivated everyone from start to finish and as much as this was an “interview”, he did not need an interviewer to carry the conversation. It was a wonderful experience to hear him speak so candidly and see him in his element and I am glad I took the opportunity to go. He made a lasting impression about the type of man he was to the world and to those closest to him.

While media outlets report that he committed suicide, one blogger was able to shed light on what really happened in a post entitled “Robin Williams Did Not Die From Suicide”. The reality is that Robin Williams died from depression and his death has triggered widespread and much needed attention to the lack of resources to those suffering from mental health related issues; a conversation that is long overdue. 

Mork and Mindy, Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poet’s Society, Hook, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, To Wong Foo, Jumanji, The Birdcage, Jack, Flubber, Good Will Hunting, What Dreams May Come, Patch Adams, One Hour Photo, Death to Smoochy, Robots, License to Wed, and countless stand-up routines will always be my favorites but I think I first fell in love with him in Mrs. Doubtfire, and that movie will never be the same…