I’ve never been one of those people to get terribly broken up over the death of a celebrity. I mean sure, depending on the actor/actress, I might be caught off guard or slightly shocked, but never to a heart wrenching level. This week that changed for me, the day I found out one of my heroes, Robin Williams, took his own life …a day where it truly feels like the world is that much darker.
When I was a kid, my father was always silly & lighthearted. At an early age, I recognized these as traits to aspire to, so naturally my father has always been a hero of mine. Like most kids in the 90s, I watched a lot of family movies with my parents, so Mr. Williams was a prominent figure during my childhood. It’s funny to reflect back on it now, but because of the similarities I identified between my dad & Mr. Williams, I sort of saw him as my dad on the big screen; always teaching me about life, love, and the never ending pursuit of happiness. As i continued to grow up, each role offered another lesson to learn from….
Dead Poets Society (1989), a film that truly shaped my worldview during adolescence. It’s fitting that his character, a teacher, taught me about living life to it’s fullest, forging my own path, and appreciating the beauty all around me. That “no matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”
"To live… to live would be an awfully big adventure." - Hook (1991)
In Hook, I was reminded that growing up doesn’t always mean having to give up that part of you that wants to play. Life is a game we play, and if we have the right motivations (happy thoughts), we can make an adventure out of it.
In Aladdin (1992), I learned what it meant to be a real friend - loyal & ridiculous.
- Good Will Hunting (1997)
- What Dreams May Come (1998), depicting how even in the darkness of sorrow and death imagination & love makes it all worth it.
"You treat a disease: you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you win - no matter the outcome."Patch Adams (1998)
The list of moments full of laughter & tears can go on and on. It isn’t until one of our heroes fall that we truly see the roles and impact that they had on shaping who we are as a person. Through the heartache and sorrow I feel in this moment, I feel a sense of joy…if one man, one man who’s life’s work has had as huge of an impact on millions across the globe, made me that much better of a person…I aspire to pass that on to others. After all, we’re all in this together. What’s life if not an opportunity to laugh, to cry, and to grow together. I find solace in that.
Rest in peace Robin - you will live on through your work and the impressions you’ve made on the lives of a world who needed you.