A Letter To Robin Williams

Dear Robin,

I’m sorry that its been since never, that I’ve written to you.
I’m sorry that it took your death to eventually spark the creation of this letter.
But, I felt compelled to convey a few words to you; so that you might gain a smile or two, as you look down on us all.

Yesterday, when I heard that you had passed on, I spent the whole day feeling hollow, and somber. As you probably know by now (as being plugged into the Universe must afford you access to all available info, enough to make Perez Hilton look like an amateur), I’ve dealt with death before; however yours was a passing on, that seemed to niggle at the very fabric of my being.

I felt this way all day, and well into the night; until finally at 3.15am, when I awoke to go get a drink from the fridge downstairs, I was struck by a realization.
The reason I was missing you so much was because I realized that you had been a constant in my life.
I know you weren’t a physical constant, but your body of work had spanned across my life up to this point.

I mean, for starters, one of my earliest childhood memories was that of me sitting in front of the television set on a cold British morning, cereal bowl in hand and looking at your comedic antics in Mork and Mindy.
My childhood wasn’t the happiest, but whenever that show was on, I could escape all the abuse that was around me; it allowed me to be transported somewhere else, somewhere better. I could visit and be in, Mork’s world.
In Mork’s world, things seemed a lot happier, and fun-filled; especially compared to what was going on in my own life. It was a world filled with adventure, and sheer abandon. It was the perfect playground of escapism. And, in many ways, I guess I felt like Mork was like a kindred spirit; as he like me, was an alien in the world he inhabited.
So Robin, it was through your portrayal of Mork, that I managed to escape the negativity of my childhood; through what may have been the best form of childhood therapy for me — laughter.

It didn’t stop there, as I grew older and edged toward my teens — a time which is confusing for anyone — let alone someone that was raised in such a loveless environment; it was through your powerful portrayals in films like Good Morning Vietnam, and Dead Poets Society — that I gained my inspiration.
These two films taught me that one voice can make a difference.
They taught me that despite the detractions and negativity of others; it is our birthright to dream.
I learned that every soul has a light; a light that can never be extinguished.
Your brave performances in these films — films in which its obvious you poured your heart into — helped give me the confidence to find and pursue my own dreams to write.

Progressing through the tapestry of my teens, it was your films Awakenings and the Fisher King, that helped me to challenge both my — and societies — narrow minded views on topics. You expanded my horizons of thought; educating me on the importance of thinking outside of the box, and teaching me more than any scholar could have ever done.

A few years later, as you returned to the hallways of comedy with films like Aladdin and Mrs Doubtfire, your work — from my perspective — moved from being educational to becoming a light hearted escape for me. I guess I would view these years as the ‘Summer Vacation,’ of my relationship to your movies.
Actually, speaking of relationships, I ended up seeing these films more than once in my teens; as I took a lot of my dates to these films. They always seemed to set a good mood for stealing many a ‘popcorn-tasting’ kiss, in the darkness of the cinema!

Through all of these great films, I think the one that touched me the most was Good Will Hunting. For me, that film will always be one of the most touching and moving, movie experiences ever to be immortalized on film.
Not just for the superb acting, and skillfully crafted story; but more for the fact that the issues of abuse and abandonment were so close to home. The way you portrayed your character with a subtle strength — arming him with a compassionate sensitivity — it truly touched a nerve in my heart.
You showed us how Will Hunting’s (Matt Damon) outward displays of strength were nothing more than wounded expressions from his heart. You showed us that the true mark of a man, is that of facing your demons, and wearing your emotional scars with pride. You showed us all this and more — through what I believe to be, one of your best acting performances.
I was fortunate enough to have my own mentor during my own troubled times. Watching Goodwill Hunting always reminds me of the connection that I shared with my own version of Sean Maguire, a character that you portrayed masterfully.

So Robin, I may not have met you, but you walked with me.
You walked with me for the first 37 years of my life; teaching me life lessons along the way, through all of your superb films.
You played your part in my life by inspiring confidence in me, and helping a downtrodden child, become the strong man that I am now.
You dared me to dream, and I took you up on it, and now I write for a living.

You may not have spoken to me by addressing me personally, but you spoke to me — and millions of others — through your work.
A work that is, in it’s most ethereal essence — uncensored postcards from your soul.

I heard that toward the end, you were sad and unhappy. Well my friend for all that you have done for me, you can borrow my smile indefinitely. From now on, whenever I smile, I’ll smile for the both of us.

Happy trails Robin, I’m sure that you’re already entertaining the Universal complement of souls that you are now with.

Take care, and Thank You.

R.I.P. Robin Williams

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