August 12, 2014

Robin Williams was Family.


Really Truly Old School Cool: Robin Williams street performing in 1979

Above: “Disney’s touching tribute to Robin Williams, from their FB page this morning.” 

“But oh, to be free.”

good will hunting "robin williams"

Robin Williams was Family. (5 Scenes I’ll Remember For the rest of my Life)

Update: Robin Williams, quoted in the NY Times, on his appreciation for life’s brevity a few years back after he went through heart surgery.

You appreciate little things,” he said in an interview in The New York Times, “like walks on the beach with a defibrillator.”

More seriously, Mr. Williams said he had reassessed himself as a performer. “How much more can you give?” he told The Times. “Other than, literally, open-heart surgery onstage? Not much. But the only cure you have right now is the honesty of going, this is who you are. I know who I am.”

This is an electric moment where the entire nation if not world thinks of one heart. 

An excerpt from President Barack Obama’s statement, sent from the White House:

“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.”

Thank you, Robin, so much, from all of us, for everything you gave us. You touched so many of us and helped us to grow up and be genuine.

A link to get help if you’re battling depression.

“The loneliest people are the kindest.

The saddest people smile the brightest.

All because they do not wish to see

anyone suffer the way they do.”

~ Unknown

Robin Williams has passed away. Please join in offering our love and thoughts to Robin Williams and his family. Thank you for everything, Robin!

I heard about Robin Williams just two hours ago. I was on my way into yoga class. I’d taken my phone out to put it on airplane mode, and saw the news alert from the New York Times.

It’s one of those small moments when the fabric of our world as we know it tears.

Without hyperbole, Robin Williams has been a family member for me, and I imagine too for so many of you. His manic humor did not charm me—rather his tender smile fathered me more than perhaps anyone else in the crass culture of Hollywood.

From his wife: Susan Schneider, in a statement, “This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings.” She added: “As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”

Here are a few moments of his that I will miss forever.

Two relephant posts offering some of his best:

1. His speech about death—and therefore the preciousness of this life—in Dead Poets Society.

2. His speech, from Good Will Hunting, about the meaning and power of true love.

3. His longing for that first kiss is so “Buddhist”—bringing his sweet insecure date back from her imaginings to the present moment. “And that’s my favorite part.”


4. Don’t forget Mork & Mindy, set in my hometown of Boulder, Colorado, where I’m writing this from. Here’s the complete first episode.

5. Goooood Morrrrnnnnning Vietnammmm!

6. His advice to those battling depression: “Reach out to friends. They’re out there. And know that you are loved.”

Thank you, Robin. 

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.

Relephant Reads:

Depression is a Highly Intelligent State of Being

What it’s Really Like to be Depressed

A Life to Remember: Robin Williams Found Dead at 63

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