Has it really been one year since the death of Robin Williams?
Kinda seems surreal, doesn’t it?
I mean, morbid as this sounds, I knew he would die one day. I just sort of thought he’d outlive us all, you know?
Well, thanks to cinema, he will.
Robin Williams completed suicide….Yeah, I know, it still doesn’t make sense, even a year on.
I guess better late than never, to put in my two bits. Yes, I know I didn’t even make a mention of it when it happened one year ago. I mean, I wanted to, but I didn’t know what to say at the time.
I still don’t know what to say.
That’s how much it affected me. I’m still at a loss for words.
But I suppose I should start with the honest truth.
There is something you should know about me….
….and that is….
….I was never a Robin Williams fan.
*GASP* I know. Call me heartless or soulless or say I have absolutely no sense of humor. Go ahead.
It’s so hard for me to explain why I didn’t like him.
(As the saying goes, “Do not speak ill of the dead.” I’m definitely not! I’m just trying to speak.)
Even as a child, I always thought there was something a little….off about Robin Williams. I’d seen other comedians, but they could be alternately serious and funny at and during the appropriate times. Robin Williams was just funny. All. The. Time. And, for whatever reason, instead of making me laugh or even smile, he made me recoil. And it was quite visceral and vitriolic because, to me, he was basically manic. It was too much, every time. Every time, it was like “Where the hell is the ‘off’ button on the man?” You know? I just couldn’t tolerate his performances, and I was very outspoken in my disdain.
Yet no on else gave it a second thought. They listened to him. And laughed with him. And loved him.
So why did I not like him?
Perhaps it’s the notion that ‘likes repel.’ We both suffered from depression, and I’d known since I was old enough that he had depression, but I just could not wrap my mind around that knowledge. It wasn’t a denial or anything like that. I just….well, refused to believe it. How could HE be depressed? He, the comedic genius? I didn’t want to have anything in common with him. I couldn’t understand what made the difference between someone like him, who seemed to have it all and more, and someone like me, who was wallowing in her teenage angst.
Don’t get the wrong idea. I understand he was human, just like everyone, and that he had his good and bad days. And I understand he was a gift to comedy, and he was extraordinary at it. There is and will never be an equal to Robin Williams. I get that.
No one else understands that I understand that. In fact, upon calling me the day Williams’ death was reported, the first question out of Younger Brother’s mouth to me was “Well, why do you care?”
I don’t know.
Perhaps because I wouldn’t wish depression and suicide on anyone. Because I know what it’s like.
This is a far-reaching claim, I know, but there was a kinship there all along, between Robin Williams and me. I could see it, but I refused to believe it.
I would like to say that the year’s introspection has blessed me with a new perspective of Robin Williams, but in most ways, and to be painfully frank, it hasn’t. The world continues to turn. I understood him very little, I guess, save for the depression aspect, and I understand even less with the nature of his death. I still remember the frigid punch-in-the-gut feeling I felt when I saw the breaking news, and when Youngest Brother, shocked, asked how Williams had died, I couldn’t even say the word “suicide” out loud – I mouthed it to my mother.
Perhaps the only new insight I’ve gleamed is how brave he was, to keep on smiling and making others laugh, even when he was in the midst of unbearable emotional pain. *raises hand* Been there, felt that. I know what he was going through.
In that regard, while I never liked him very much, I will always respect him and look up to him. Despite it all, he kept up a very brave facade, persevered, and lived his life to the fullest.
I just find myself wishing I knew what, exactly, made him change his mind.
In case you were curious, my family swore by everything he was in. EVERYTHING! From “Aladdin” to “Mork and Mindy” to “Good Will Hunting” to “Toys” and to his appearance on “Inside the Actor’s Studio.” I seem to recall Older Sister and Younger Brother were really into “Death to Smoochy,” if you’ve ever seen that movie.
But my favorite films of his are and remain “The Birdcage” and “Insomnia.”
Rest in peace, Robin Williams. Know that you were and are loved.