Well the world just got a lot less funny. Celebrity deaths are not something that typically hit me beyond the apathetic, “Oh that’s sad”. There is something about getting upset about someone I never met that makes me feel odd. The passing of Robin Williams feels different. Perhaps it’s how sudden it has happened. Maybe it’s the way it ended. Whatever the reason I keep wishing this is all some sick joke that we will all eventually laugh at. The man who made us laugh for generations with his hypersonic panache is no longer with us.
Ever since I have been cognitive of my surroundings Robin Williams has been a comedic and dramatic force of entertainment. He’s been the world’s funny uncle that immediately lit up the room with his presence. As a child he made me laugh as the Genie in Aladdin, as everyone’s favorite babysitter in Mrs. Doubtfire, and as a literal big kid in Jack. As an adult I have come to appreciate his dramatic ability even more through movies like Dead Poet’s Society, Good Will Hunting, and the highly underrated World’s Greatest Dad. The guy could literally do it all. Make you laugh and cry within the same movie and during the same scene—a showman in every sense of the word.
Certain actors you automatically associate with certain properties. With Williams I find it impossible to pick one, two, or even a handful. He took chances, he took risks, and sometimes they paid off and sometimes they didn’t. I never had the pleasure of meeting the man, yet I feel like I have. He has that warming soul that can make even the most socially awkward person feel like they have a rightful place in the room.
There is much to celebrate. There is much to mourn. There is also much to learn from with this tragedy. Robin Williams was a name everyone knew. Everyone could pick something he did that they loved. Unquestionably one of the most successful people in his field…ever. Even with all that success, fame, and glory something was missing.
Williams has been very open with his struggles over the years. Drugs, alcohol, and depression were some of the unrelenting demons he was battling against. There is perhaps no greater personal tragedy than a man who could bring so much joy to so many that could not find that same joy for himself. We live in a world where people will do just about anything to become famous in hopes that fame will bring them what they seek. Let Robin Williams serve as a reminder of how futile fame, glory, and riches can be when happiness is nonexistent. How depression cannot be beaten through material things and can affect anyone at any time.
They say laughter is the best medicine. As a non-practicing doctor without an M.D. I cannot verify that statement. What I can say is laughter is a gift. A gift to have and a gift to give. Robin Williams gave that gift for generations and generations to come. I just hope he can find that gift of peace he so rightfully deserves.
Goodnight Mr. Williams. You will surely be missed.