Since first hearing the news at this afternoon’s PTA meeting that Robin Williams had been found dead, possibly by suicide, I have been trying to figure out why his death has been such a blow to me personally. Most often when a celebrity dies I feel awful for his/her family, but am not affected too much myself. But Robin Williams was different. And his death hurts right here.
Starting with the delightfully ridiculous Mork from Ork of “Mork and Mindy”, showing us in “Mrs. Doubtfire” how far a father would go to be with the children he loved, to breaking our hearts in “The Bird Cage”, Robin Williams has delighted us, outraged us, and made us think. (One of my favorite tee-shirts is the one I put on this morning for a church project. It has the Episcopal Church shield on the front, and on the back is his list of “Top 10 Reasons to be an Episcopalian”. My favorites? #7. You don’t have to check your brains at the door, and #3. All of the pageantry — none of the guilt.)
We have laughed until our stomachs ached, and cried just as much. I have heard over and over about how watching him in “Dead Poets Society” made people re-think their approach to learning…or to teaching. All thanks to the genius of this incredible human being who had so much going on “behind the scenes” that the general public did not see.
And I think that’s what is making me so sad tonight. No matter how brilliant he was, no matter how he delighted the world at large, Robin Williams the human being dealt with depression and addiction that he couldn’t laugh his way out of. The love of his wife and children couldn’t “fix” it, and ultimately the world’s applause wasn’t enough.
Rest in peace, Robin. You will be missed more than you can imagine.