- Posted August 13, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
O Captain, My Captain.
I woke up feeling a bit more dim and disheartened than usual. And now I know why: it was the residual pain from what would be too much for Robin Williams in the moments leading up to his death.
I can’t explain my strange sense of closeness with the late actor without sounding presumptuous or even psychotic, so rather than risk being accused of either, I’ll do what I’ve done for the better part of my life and entrust my voice to the man who spoke not only for me, but for all of us – the irresistible, unrivaled, and unforgettable Robin Williams.
In What Dreams May Come, Williams delivers a poignant line that speaks to the coalescent, almost transcendent, bond between two people: “Is that a kind of occupational hazard of soul mates? One’s not much without the other?” And that’s what I’m trying to say here – that I am simply not much without Robin. He filled my heart with such vitality, such warmth and zeal, that it’s only natural it should feel just as cold, desolate, and muted as his now still and silenced heart. Much like how Katharine Hepburn wore a skirt for the first time in nearly thirty years following the death of Humphrey Bogart to show that she was not herself without him, I now bare my heart for all to see to let him know how much he meant to me, and how much less I am without him.
I love him dearly as though he were my family, because in many ways he was. I may never have had the honor of meeting him, and now I never will, but that’s not to say I did not know him. I knew him. We all did. He gave himself to us through his work, both professional and philanthropic, with equal parts gusto, genius, and generosity. And with every offering of himself, he filled every hole in our hearts with lasting shares of laughter, joy, love, and hope.
I’m lucky to have started receiving his gifts at a young age mainly through his incarnations for Disney, first as the genial Genie in Aladdin and then as funny Professor Brainard in Flubber. Since then, Robin has been there for me through every step and stumble of my life, whether it be teaching me to dream as Professor Keating, healing me with humor as Patch Adams, or redeeming me with selfless care and compassion as psychologist Sean Maguire.
He was my father, my brother, my mentor, my hero, and my best friend. He isn't just a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is a polestar for humanity - a celestial body radiating light and energy and beauty in all directions and across all distances. When our heads were down, he made us look up. When life gave us lemons, he gave us laughter. When all seemed lost, he lit the way. My heart, although irreparably broken, now beats for him. Here’s to a man whose soul was too big and boundless for this world, and so had to return from whence it first came – the stars.
O Me! O Life!
By Walt Whitman
May we all continue where he left off, and continue to better a world made all the more better by his inimitable and immortal verse.