As so many were, I woke up this morning to the heartbreaking news that actor and comedian Robin Williams had passed away, having taken his own life. At first I believed it must be a mistake, or some kind of media stunt, but as the messages of condolence and morning rolled through social media the sad truth became impossible to deny.
At the age of 63 Robin Williams, master of bringing laughter to others, had died.
This effected me more than I thought it would. It felt like losing a small part of my childhood, a member of the family. Robin Williams was the first actor I was able to recognize as a real person. I remember in particular always being thrilled to hear the voice of the genie in other roles. For a time, before I knew of actors or acting, that’s all he was, a big blue animated man who made me laugh so much often the video would be rewound again and again. To this day I can’t truly separate Robin from the Genie, because they were so much alike.
Both were vivacious and full-of-life, but troubled underneath by sadness and a sense of being trapped and alone. They shared joy with anyone they could, helped wherever it was asked of them, and longed, secretly, for their torment to end.
At the tragic passing of this beloved comedian, and irreplaceable part of my childhood, I am reminded that we as human beings must always vigilantly look after one another; we must watch carefully for the frown behind the smile, and for any signs that a deeper, painful storm is brewing underneath the sunny disposition. We must search for the glint of the monster growing darkly in the heart and beat it away with gentleness, kindness, and understanding. Truly, we must never let anyone who faces these silent killers of depression feel like they face it unarmed.
Goodbye, Robin. You’re free.
My heart goes out to Robin’s friends and family at this difficult time. May you also find peace.