I grew up with Robin Williams in my life, as I’m sure many did. Watched him break out of his shell on Happy Days, and work his way up to someone I counted on to make me laugh, and think… and delve into the parts of myself I didn’t know needed unearthing. Sound dramatic? Sure. But that’s what he did. He crept into my heart, and I didn’t know how deeply, until the world had lost him.
His films were in the background of my life in a way I never understood, until I was suddenly faced with his absence. … And not just his absence: The WAY of his leaving brought up feelings of such anger! Confused anger that I didn’t know what to do with. I still don’t. I know it’s misplaced, and I am trying to work out what to do with it. I certainly don’t want to dump it on him. I’m working through it right now as I type, and I struggle to make sense of it. It’s amazing to me that someone I never met, and can’t claim to have any knowledge of personally, made such an impact on my life. If you had asked me a week ago, who I would want to be stuck on a desert island with, or have dinner with, his name wouldn’t have been on my short list… perhaps because I thought of him as someone who would always be there… someone who was solid, and tangible, and present, and….. just there. But he did make an impact.
Until I started reading the list of his accomplishments…. until I started understanding how many films he was in, that formed who I am today, I slowly came to understand what I had lost…. what we all had lost: I didn’t only lose Robin Williams. I lost William Keating,(Dead Poet’s Society) and Dr. Malcolm Sayer (Awakenings) and Sean Maguire (Good Will Hunting) and Garp, and Peter Manning (Hook) ,and Chris Nielsen (What dreams may come) and Patch Adams …… and so many beautiful, loving characters who helped me on my way to being a more caring and loving human being. His performances of those characters touched me, and changed me…. And for that, I cannot thank him enough. He was a role model, an inspiration, and a teacher…
So, Thank you Mr. Williams. I owe you so much, and I wish you were still here so that I could make you understand how much you’ve meant to me and my family. I honor you, and appreciate you.