It's taken me a few days now to formulate the words necessary to discuss Robin Williams, and even now I'm not entirely sure I can say anything that hasn't been said already, a thousand times over and by those far more eloquent than I. But, as the days tick by, I'm starting to realise that I just can't quite shake his death, that it's still hanging over me like a ridiculous, looming cloud. It's gotten to the point that I dread loading up Twitter and Facebook in the morning, in case I see another piece of memorial art, or read another story about how wonderful he was. I'm finding it exhausting, mentally. I just want it to all go away, to move on, to pretend it never happened, essentially.
If somebody asked me a week ago what I thought of Robin Williams, I'd have said yeah, he's cool. I like his stuff. He's done great movies, but that would have been it. I wouldn't have called myself a huge fan, necessarily. I never sent him fan-mail. I just liked his movies, he seemed like a decent guy. And so, my emotional investment in his death shouldn't be this high. But it is. Because Robin Williams was always there. He's always been there. I was a little kid when I started watching Mork & Mindy. I grew up with Hook, Jumanji, Mrs. Doubtfire, Aladdin. He was a household face, a household name, and sadly it meant that I took him for granted. I'd imagine most people did.
I don't like taking things for granted. I can't stand living on assumptions. It means I'm actually pretty cynical about a lot of things - my circle of friends could someday drift apart, my art career could dwindle away. I'm very aware that life changes, that things you love probably wont stay that way forever, so I try not to take things for granted. I've gotten pretty good at it, too.
So here comes this actor, a piece of the furniture, always there yet never really in my mind, and he kills himself. And just like that, he's gone. And suddenly he is a 'was' and not an 'is' and his movies 'were' good and they no longer 'are' good and suddenly this vibrant, brilliant human being that was so damned vivid and real is simply gone and how preposterous was I to take his role in my life for granted.
We invite celebrities into our lives through their movies or shows or music and we take them for granted. It's what they do. It's what they're here for. To serve us. To entertain us. It's all too easy to forget that they're human beings just like us, and that they are just as fragile and easily broken as any of us. And even when we lose one of them, they're still there, giving us everything they could possibly have given us. Robin Williams is no longer here, but yesterday I watched 'Dead Poets Society' for the first time, in his honour and his memory. Even in death, he gave me something new and brilliant. His gift that he shared with us will remain forever, and people will continue to take it for granted long after we stop eulogising him.
But what a legacy that man left behind! The day he died, I went to the pub, corny enough to raise a toast in thanks to the man that gave me so much laughter as a child, and around me heard no less than three separate conversations about him and his career, every one of them sad, reflectful, respectful. He left behind a world in mourning in such a way I've never seen before. Somebody on Twitter noted that it was 'like a wake' and they were right. Celebrities die, and people are sad, but the outpouring of love and remembrance that came from Robin Williams' death was absolutely unmatched by any I've witnessed in my lifetime. What an epitaph.
It was fitting, on retrospect, that I chose 'Dead Poets Society' as the film I watched to commemorate his life. I'd never watched it before, but the whole opening was a punch to the gut in light of Williams' tragic death. Life is short. We get one shot at it before the curtain call and we take for granted so much. This is the quote that grabbed me, said by Williams' character as he guides the boys to look at old photos of former students at their school:
They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? - - Carpe - - hear it? - - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.
Robin Williams cut his own time here short, but even in that shortened lifetime, he gave the world so much. Life is what you make it, and I don't think you should take for granted any part of it. Give the very best you can, give the very most you can, so that someday you can look back and feel proud of all you achieved. Make it count. Make your life extraordinary.
Thank you for the laughter, Robin. You really were a shining star. Goodnight.
I'm Selena, an artist, blogger and gamer - but maybe not always in that order! Dream Somehow is a blog dedicated to travel, geeky adventures, vintage style and a little bit of Disney Dreaming! If you'd like to learn a little more about me, click here.