I first met Robin Williams as the professor on Flubber. He quickly became a colourful strand in my childhood as I entered the world of Jumanji, learned the life lessons of Mrs. Doubtfire and was amazed by the enigma of Genie. Like many of us, when I heard about his passing I felt the loss of someone gone too soon. A man who had taught us that laughter gives colour to the shades of grey in life was with us no more.
Scrolling through my news feed, I was stunned at the outpouring of love for this man. A person many of us had only met on screen had taught us how to dream, to laugh, to learn and to never forsake our childish tendencies. I think he said it best when he said, “You’re only given a little spark of madness, you mustn’t lose it.”
To me, Robin Williams was a crazy, ingenious professor. For many others, he was Peter Pan; the embodiment of the boy who never grew up. He was the voice that encouraged people to write, the dose of happiness that provoked them to write songs, and the glue that pulled the family together for Saturday movie night. Robin Williams was significant to the world.
Off the screen, he was a father. He was a husband. He was a friend. He was a person. He struggled. He battled with depression and addiction. He was fighter for what he deemed good and lovely in the lives of people all over the world.
In the tragedy of this situation, I have seen hope blossom. People are speaking out and sharing their own stories. They are telling their friends that “It is okay to not be okay.” They are letting their community know that depression is not an illness to be covered, but something to be met with the love and light of recovery. The world is acknowledging that the most joyful faces can feel hopeless, and that everyone is deserving of help.
Yesterday, we said goodbye to a man who taught us to laugh. He taught us to fight for what mattered: love, health and hope. His legacy is beautiful, his spirit of imagination will transcend generations. And with each life he continues to touch we are left with the imprint of hope. Hope that there is love and laughter beyond this circumstance. Hope that recovery is real. Hope that this is just the beginning of many stories waiting to be told.
Robin showed us that everybody struggles. If you feel hopeless, have relapsed, or feel empty, please know this: there is hope for you. Reach out and ask for help. Be honest. It is okay to be broken; it is okay to need other people. Recovery is a process, and the life of Robin Williams shows us there is beauty in the brokenness. If you need help- please ask for it. Don’t give up.
Robin Williams was many faces to many people, but most of all he was a father and a friend. He mattered. Thank you, Robin, for making us all smile. Thank you, Robin Williams, for teaching us to dream for bigger things.
“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” – Robin Williams
You deserve hope. If you are struggling, please call 1-800-273-8255 (USA) or 13 11 14 (Australia).