Farewell, Robin Williams
As most of you will know, or will soon find out, the brilliant man Robin Williams took his life within the last 24 hours.
The passing of great actors, singers, celebrities is always a painful moment. We grow up watching them on television, listening to them on the radio, and then bam. They’re gone. You almost feel it like a physical blow. You didn’t know them in person, but you recognise that they played a role in your life to some extent. So when they pass, it hurts.
Before I go on, I want .. No, I need to say something. I did not know him personally. I do not claim to. I cannot say that “he was a great man” or anything that suggests I knew what kind of human being he was. Neither do I claim to. I wish to pay my respects to him, and to his family, but I do not wish to pretend my life has been shaken by this loss. Some people may hate me for saying it, most of you probably won’t understand why I say it. But I do only know him as an actor. I didn’t know his family. I didn’t know his life. I didn’t know his mind. I, as the rest of the world, will feel his loss in the world of the screen, and we will join in worldwide mourning, but the only people who have any claim to say they will miss him as a best friend, a husband, a soulmate, are his family and those in close proximity to his life.
For me, it hurts more that it appears he passed by his own hand. Anyone who knows me, knows how deeply the subject of suicide effects me. And while the reports are unconfirmed as yet, it still pains me to imagine this is the way he went. Again I don’t pretend to know his life, but from the news I have found out he battled depression and drinking. He checked himself into rehab to fight this. But his demons won over this time.
It is sad that anyone feels the need to take their own life. On this occasion, it was aired on international television. For anybody to reach a point where they feel suicide is the best option is heartbreaking. Just because the whole world will feel this blow, doesn’t make it any less painful at its core. I lost a school-mate last year to suicide. That hurt bad enough. I don’t think I ever spoke a word to that person and yet I felt it, because I understood it at the heart of it. I feel that darkness, I understand that pain.
Actor, school-mate, passerby, nobody. There is no difference at the core. They are all human. We are all human. We all suffer. Some suffer more than others. Some get half an inch in a local paper, some get a Breaking News headline on television sets across the globe. Some will not be recognised at all. But they all suffered, and they all fought, and some of them fell.
Robin Williams was an incredible actor. No words in the English language are sufficient to accurately portray how talented he was. I won’t say it’s a shame to lose that talent, as that makes it seem that his loss will be felt only in terms of his acting. But it can’t be denied that the place in which he sat among the greats will remain unfilled for some years to come. It will likely remain a spot which will never be filled, from lack of equal talent, and out of respect.
I will not go on about it anymore, but I do have one final thing to say.
While I know you cannot see this, the feeling behind these next words are genuine. To the friends and family of Robin Williams, to his loved ones, those grieving his loss, I send my condolences. While I sit here and know him only for Flubber, Aladdin and Good Will Hunting, you knew him as something much more than this. He held a place in your hearts that he cannot hold in mine, and for that I give you my utmost sympathy.
Farewell, Robin Williams. May you sleep, forever peaceful and content, wherever you may be.