Robin Williams 1951-2014

I’ve been sitting here staring at the screen since late last night wondering how to write this post.  I hate seeing people die.  It makes me sad.  It makes me even sadder when people choose to take their own life.  On Twitter, everyone is posting YouTube clips of their favorite Robin Williams movies, which I thought was great.  I am a firm believer in celebrating someones life, not mourning their death.  I do not like being sad.  Everyone mourns differently.  I choose to tell funny stories, or try to lighten the mood.  That works for me.  Doesn’t work for everyone.  But showing movie clips is a great way to remember how Williams made other people happy.

I remember the first time I saw Good Will Hunting.  Surprisingly enough, as a HUGE fan of Matt Damon and The Batfleck, I had no desire to see the movie.  I didn’t see it right away, and felt the hype for it was way too over the top.  My friend Patrick and I were on a road trip and were staying with my friend Marissa.  They convinced me that it actually was good.  It was.  It was so damn good.  I was mad at myself for not seeing it sooner.  Williams was brilliant.  I saw Toys with my Aunt and Uncle in the theater when I was younger.  They took me when I was staying with them after my cool older cousin took me to my first Kings game.  When I went to Boy Scout camp, one of the other guys had the soundtrack to Good Morning, Vietnam.  I had never seen the movie at that point, as I was only 9 when it came out.  But after a week of listening to nothing but that tape, I HAD to see this movie.

I still have my copy of Popeye on VHS, and even though it’s not very highly rated, I love it to this day.  My sister and I used to watch it when we were children.  The one that I still think is my favorite though is What Dreams May Come.  It’s a little heavy today, and I don’t think it did very well at the theaters, but I really love it.  It’s on the darker side of Williams’ roles and just showed how far someone would be willing to go for the one they loved.  I remember seeing this movie in the theater all by myself.  I couldn’t have loved it more.

That doesn’t even begin to cover his body of work, like Mork and Mindy or what is for me, and incredibly difficult role, Peter Pan.  Peter Pan is in my top 5 all-time favorite movies.  TinkerBell is my favorite Disney character.  The way he was able to  play Peter at his age in Hook was awesome.  If you didn’t read what Dante Basco had to say about Robin’s passing, you really should.

I remember so many specific moments about Robin Williams’ movies and where I was when I saw them.  That’s what I will remember most about him.  I am going to see my friend Patrick in 3 weeks in Portland.  If the subject comes up, I will be able to say, “Hey remember the trip in college when we drove to L.A. and did all the big theme parks?  Then stopped in San Luis Obispo and saw Ryan on the way back?  I saw GWH during that trip.”

The other part I’ve seen is people questioning how someone who seemed to have it all could do something like this.  It is so hard to try and explain to someone who has never dealt with depression.  For those who have gone through it, or know someone who has, it can be a life long struggle.  It can also seemingly come out of nowhere.  As it appeared to in this case.  As someone who has dealt with it for nearly 20 years now, it really breaks my heart when someone loses their battle.  Mine started in college.  It’s the reason I never finished.  It almost got the best of me, but thankfully I had the right support around me.  I feel terrible for Robin.  Most times, people feel like they are going through this alone and have no one.  I feel just as bad for his friends and family.  Those who knew he was dealing with this and those who didn’t.  They will spend the rest of their lives wondering what they could have done to help and why they didn’t see it coming.  And that’s a horrible empty feeling.

I ask you take two things from this tragedy.  Remember Robin Williams for the wonderful comic he was, and all the great movies he made.  And please look to your friends and family and look for the signs of depression.  If you see someone that needs help, speak up.  Try to do something.  Everyone needs a friend.  And if you’re the one going through it, there is always another solution.  I’ve found the hardest part is the embarrassment of asking for help.  But, it’s better than the alternative.  Here is the link to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.  There is lots of good information.

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