“You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” Robin Williams
Robin Williams (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014) passed away at his home in Marin County, California, leaving behind three children and wife, Susan Schneider. Initially, when I heard the news, I thought it was yet another bombastic, social media hoax. I couldn’t fathom how Robin Williams, one of the busiest comedians who was full of joie de vivre, could possibly end his life. Why would he do it? To all appearances, he lived a charmed life… How could he do it? He was loved by family, friends, fans and strangers. Oh no, not him. What could make him do it? Depression – that insidious mental health condition that leaves us with intense feelings of pain and sadness. It wasn’t a hoax and I am heartbroken. Robin, like many others who’ve gone down that path, could no longer hold on…
My deepest condolences go out to his family and friends who, like many of us; celebrities and ordinary folk, are reeling in shock over his sudden demise. Robin was a beloved stand-up comedian, actor, father, friend, film producer, and screenwriter. He was one of the funniest, most eloquent, and zaniest comedians of his generation; he always made me think and laugh. He was a consummate performer and a fearless man who wasn’t afraid to speak openly about his personal struggles with substance abuse … and depression. Robin had a huge heart, a generous spirit and a quick wit. I so wish he could have held on. RIP Robin Williams. Thank you for sharing your gift of humor with so many!
“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets.” President Obama
Even though Robin Williams won his Oscar for Good Will Hunting, my favorite roles were Mork & Mindy, Good Morning Vietnam, Mrs Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society. He was nominated three times for an Academy Award for Best Actor, and received one Academy Award for his Best Supporting Actor role in Good Will Hunting. His other awards were two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globes, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and five Grammy Awards. He kept a busy acting schedule and had a number of projects completed and in the works when he died. His suicide brings back very painful memories for many of us and raises the question: What are we going to do as a community to battle this particular mental health condition? *If you, or someone you know, is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)* You can also get Help via NSPL. As a teacher, Dead Poets Society held a special place in my heart and I share the below in his honor and memory.
O Captain! my Captain! By Walt Whitman
O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
The arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
More below! Continue reading