[originally published 6 months ago on stephaniefaye.sbvtle.com]
When a beloved celebrity passes away, the entire world mourns. For a few days, we all come together and remember the moments in this person’s career that inspired joy and happiness into our lives, even if it was only through a movie, a song, or a book. Some would argue that being saddened by a celebrity death isn’t worth the energy, but I have to disagree. When a famous person who’s work I’ve happened to enjoy has passed on, it leaves a very real mark on my own happiness, even if it’s just for a moment. After all, while I didn’t know the person in real life, I did have the amazing opportunity to see this person grow, develop their talents and bare some of the most vulnerable moments of their lives and careers on screen. We let this person into our homes through our television screen, and to know that they’re not in the world anymore, it hurts. When the news of Robin Williams’ ridiculously untimely and heartbreaking death broke, I read about it on Twitter (surprise, surprise). I was having dinner with my family, and when I told them why I was looking at my phone so funny, even my parents were shocked to hear that the cheerful and brilliant actor was gone.
The outpouring of love and respect I’ve seen from fans and colleagues of Robin alike has been so uplifting – albeit, pretty devastating to read in a lot of cases, but to see exactly how Robin Williams affected so many people’s childhoods and careers is absolutely incredible. This was just one man, but he inspired generation after generation. He made us laugh, cry, and remember to be joyful, even if that was ultimately something he couldn’t remember himself. I am devastated that our world was no longer a place that Robin felt any kind of happiness, because our world certainly gained a lot of happiness from him.
The man taught us so many important lessons; in Dead Poet Society he taught us how important it is to be an individual, and to never stop learning. In Good Will Hunting, he taught us that nothing is as wonderful or painful as real, true love. And in Aladdin, he taught us the meaning of the word ‘friendship’. And in my personal favourite – Mrs Doubtfire – He taught us that as long as you have a family who loves you, you’re set for life. I believe that we can all learn one more invaluable lesson from him – we can learn to never take someone’s happiness for granted; to never assume that a person is okay because they smile a lot. There is a very real problem in our world in regards to how we treat mental illness, and it needs to stop. We lose wonderful, brilliant people who could change the world every single day because of their battles with inner demons, but no one knows how to help them, or even knows that they need it. I don’t want to take the passing of Robin Williams and turn it into some sort of PSA about depression and mental illness, but I truly believe we can learn from this insane tragedy.
Rest in Peace, Robin Williams. I will never forget the joy that you’ve made me feel. Thank you for the hours of laughter and entertainment. You were a shining light in this world, and we will miss you very much.