My parents bickered and fought a lot (still do), and as a sensitive 14 year old going through his own share of emotional shit, each one of the skirmishes and fights adversely affected my psyche.
About five minutes into the car ride, I lost the desire to go, but we pressed on anyway (based on the insistence of my mother, I assume). Within the first three minutes of the movie, I was laughing so hard I couldn't even remember what my parents' names were.
This is the gift Robin Williams gave to us. In that short, incredibly hairy frame of his lived the power to make us cry, to laugh uncontrollably, to give us respite from the tribulations in our lives. "Mrs. Doubtfire" gave me a much appreciated two-hour break from thinking about the fight. It was bliss.
Had I been lucky enough to have met Mr. Williams when he was alive, I would have told him that story. I wish I could have told him that story.
I'm willing to bet good money that millions and millions of people have similar Robin Williams stories, and this, compounded with the fact that we lost him to something completely treatable, is why so many of us are having more difficulty processing his death over the deaths of other celebrities.
My sister said this is the first death of someone famous that has her fighting back tears. I'm fighting them back as I write this. I told her that Mr. Williams possessed arguably the greatest comedic mind ever created; that his death equates to losing a mind like Albert Einstein's 10 years too early.
His death is yet another reminder that depression can extinguish even the brightest of lights, and it's unfortunate that it takes the passing of someone like Mr. Williams for us to be able to talk openly (and most likely, briefly) about it.
I find that the most exhausting part of living with depression is the constant effort it takes to give the impression that you're not crumbling internally; to hide your sadness from other people. Not only did Mr. Williams struggle with this for years, but he took his battle one step further and expelled an extraordinary amount of energy to ensure we never felt like he felt. This is his tortured genius, the tears of a clown.
Depression and addiction, the two diseases with which Mr. Williams struggled so mightily, make it difficult to perceive that there are people in your life who love you, who appreciate you, who view you differently than how you view yourself. Unquestionably, the world was a better place with Robin Williams in it. I hope there were days when he was remotely cognizant of this, even if he could never get himself to fully believe it.
Thank you so much, Mr. Williams. I'll miss you.
(photo courtesy of Shaikh Irfan, everystockphoto.com)