As I stated on social media when I heard the news, I am utterly devastated. Another emblem of my childhood is gone. I have so many fond memories surrounding his work. My mind is spinning now with all the flashes of make-believe, wonder, joy and laughter my youth was infused with thanks to him. My brother and I were completely and giddily enamored with alien Mork of Mork and Mindy, religiously staying up late to catch the 1970’s series on Nick at Nite and throwing our parents off with the catchphrase “Nanu, nanu.” We so enjoyed the sarcasm and personality of the Genie; it made him almost cooler than Aladdin in our book. We made a recreation of the Jumanji game-board and just KNEW that we’d get the same time-traveling, living circus results and that if we just closed our eyes and concentrated hard enough, we could fly (Hook); evading the tumbles of growing up was just outside the window into the night sky. I never saw Death to Smoochy, but every time something broke down, died or fried, I’d say that; till this day I do. Williams brought such engaging life and a glow to his characters, that you forgot that they were characters. Could the guy at the One Hour Photo be plotting to stalk me? When and if I get engaged, pre-marital counseling is a must (Licensed to Wed). Even now, my mom avoids Mrs. Doubtfire because it makes her angry at Sally Field, whom she loves. “She (Field’s character, Miranda) is unfairly keeping him (Williams’ character, Daniel) from his children! Why didn’t she speak up in that courtroom?! He loves those children! I hate this movie because they still divorce at the end! Clearly, if he went to such great lengths to see his children, he’s not that bad of a father! I don’t like her in this movie! Nor Pierce Brosnan!” Mrs. Doubtfire is hands-down my favorite Robin Williams film. It’s so heartwarming and hilarious, but I don’t have to tell you that. My brother and I would throw fruit just so we can say “run by fruity!” I know Matthew Lawrence, the Heimlich maneuver, “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” “Figaro” and Aerosmith’s “Dude Looks like a Lady” because of that film. When my mom would tell me to clean up? “I don’t do windows, I don’t do dishes…” Of course, I’d get a bad look for that and end up doing my chores anyway. Whenever I need a quick word or name, like when telemarketers call and want to know whose household it is if it isn’t who they intended to reach, I look at a newspaper and pick a word.
When I saw him last on television, I believe it was to promote The Crazy Ones with Sarah Michelle Gellar, I thought “he’s never going to not be funny. He’s perfection.”
Having studied psychology and struggled with depression myself, deaths of this nature always make my heart sink further and break a little more because I understand the hell that people who suffer with it go through just to have a “good” or “okay” day. I know what the hopelessness, desolation and despair when one contemplates suicide feels like. Depression comes in and dictates your life. I get so angry, thinking “Darn you, depression. You won again.” In 2012, I wrote “Suicidal & Judged” to help people get a better understanding of suicide ideation, as there are many misconceptions and false assumptions.
In the statement released by Williams’ wife, Susan Schneider, she appeals “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." This approach is probably best, because the memories are what death cannot touch. I’m thankful that I was exposed to the craft of Robin Williams, that he shared his gift with us and I have plenty of “happy thoughts” to “fly” to forever.
“He broke the mold when He made me. He made me very special.”-Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)