While I can feel good about one anniversary this month, there is another that still doesn’t even seem real.
A year ago, I was partaking in a random tradition of Potbelly with two of my closest friends. The vibe was pleasant, but tired. We had experienced a long weekend together of wedding celebrations and it was time to go back to our “regular schedules.” One turned to me as I was pulling out my chair to sit down, and said… “Robin Williams is dead.”
I couldn’t focus on much beyond that. All I said was what? And she reiterated, while my other friend said that it was sad and mentioned things she liked him in. I tried to block it out because I didn’t want to dwell on it or become emotional around them, after all he’s just some celebrity comedian, I had never met.
When I finally got home, I looked into it because rumors happen so often, but sure enough it was true. And I lost it.I lost it for far longer than I have for any other “celebrity,” and it was difficult to even understand why. But then I knew. Because while I had never met him, I grew up with him. I haven’t seen every movie of his career, but enough and each one left an impression. All those roles I saw him in, made it feel like I had met him. That each one was a little piece of him he was sharing with his audiences. I’ve seen some of his stand-up as well. And nothing about him ever made me think he wasn’t a genuine person. Learning of the nature in which he died the next day re-broke my heart. It triggered my own struggles with depression, because it was a glaring reminder “nothing gold can stay.”
I know he was not a perfect person, none of us are, and I know he had his own problems, that often weren’t obvious to the rest of the world…but still those kinds of details didn’t/don’t stop me from seeing him as someone sincere, and who sincerely cared about others. There are so few people I encounter in life in some respect that, for lack of better phrasing, have a certain light about them that is immediately recognizable. At least to me, and whenever they are gone, for whatever reason…. I weep. Not only for them, but for us.
I lost a friend seven years ago that I had very few encounters with, but in the time I spent with them, and seeing the company they kept, the kind of joy and goodness they brought out in everyone else around them. I immediately had love for this person, and when I tried to talk about their death it was hard for a long time. Some of my other friends were surprised by how strongly it affected me. But when you spend the majority of your life struggling to find the beauty in it, the good in it, and especially in people…when those few that touch us in ways others cannot or have yet to are taken from us…it hurts. It hurts deeply and feels as if the sociopathic side of humanity strengthens.
The amount of people and the diversity of people that showed up to the funeral, and still are affected to this day, told me I was not wrong in thinking this about my friend. If I had known them longer, I can’t even imagine…nor do I wish to.
The amount of people and diversity of people that were hurting that day, that week, and more than likely still, tells me I’m not wrong in thinking this about Robin either.
I would like to be this kind of light for others, but often don’t believe I’m strong enough to get out of my own head at times. Then again maybe I am, on a smaller scale, and just too modest to let myself realize it. In the meantime, I’ll try not to worry so much…