At 2:30a.m I woke up to find that I had been tweeted some terrible news... I was catching up on the news that one Robin Williams, the man that had so easily and fluently brought laughter to my childhood, adolescent, and adult lives, he had passed away after suspected suicide. The first thing I thought was that I had to write; sure I had posted a Facebook post about this tragic event, but there aren't many people who will sit and read a long FB post and you know... Truly read it. So my writing brought me back here, to the scene of much love and laughter in my life, and a sanctuary for my memories.
Throughout my childhood it was my dream to become an Actor. A dream I have sadly not lived except for on the stages of Northumbria Musical Theatre Society.However, growing up with this dream, wishing and longing to be part of this lucrative, magical, but cut-throat industry, there were few greater people I looked up to and admired than Robin Williams. Through films such as Patch Adams, Jack, Mrs Doubtfire, Toys and Hook his acting, his passion that he allowed you to feel and absorb through the screen, and the messages he taught helped me through times of being bullied as a child, and let me know that if I had compassion, self belief and love for others, then I could get through anything. As I matured into a young man, films such as Dead Poet's Society and Good Will Hunting showed me what it was to live life, and parts of what it took to be a man. No other actor has had such an impact of my development than Williams, and through his incredible talent and dedication to his art, he helped me grow into both the man, and father I am today.
Isn't it strange how, even though you may never have met someone, you may never have spoken on the phone, exchanged emails, or even bumped into them in the street, you can feel a connection to them, a bond that is created out of hours of hearing their voice on the cinema screen or the television. It is this incredible gift of being able to connect with his audience that made Williams the true star he will be remembered for.
Robin once said, "You are only given one spark of madness, you mustn't lose it". As my clock ticks on past 3:30a.m I realise that he was right. Life is for living, and those dreams and passions you hold inside, you must never let them dull, but embrace them, and ensure every decision you make will lead you down the path to achieving them. I will never understand the pain that a person can feel, the sadness and loneliness that would drive someone to suicide. However, I have felt alone, there have been times when I have sat at home, without any answers or understanding for what is happening around me, and that is a lonely place. Though where I can find solace and comfort in the words of actors like Robin Williams, by simply switching on a film, or opening a book, it is truly heartbreaking to know that this sheer darkness brought on by depression could not be lifted, and Williams turned to taking his own life.
In that moment, that last glimmer of life, whatever it may be just before you take your last breath. I hope in those final seconds that Robin could look and, if he could know that in his life he had felt even just 1% of the happiness he brought to lives such as mine through his acting, directing, writing and stand-up, then I can assure you that he lived a happy life.
The world has lost one of its brightest stars, one that lit up the night sky for 63 years.The family he has left behind who, amid his recent struggles with sobriety stood by him and supported him all they could, they have lost what will feel like the largest part of their lives. Robin brought so much joy, happiness and love to so many lives around the world; if films could bring around World Peace and love then please someone stick on Flubber and watch as the universe unites in laughter.
As I sit here, having to get up for work in under 3 hours time, and as my tears begin to hit my keyboards, I can only express with all my heart how much I appreciated the life of Robin Williams, and how much I, like I am sure many of you will also, wish that I could have gotten the chance to thank him for his lifetime of dedication to putting a smile on people's faces. In your passing, though it has brought sheer sadness to me, it has also brought me back to my writing, and for that I also thank you.
Williams' death is truly tragic. It is a devastating thought to know that a person felt that much sadness that they were driven to such a point. If you feel alone, or depressed, if there is a darkness that has surrounded you like it did Robin, I want you to know that you are not alone in this feeling. Millions of people around the world suffer from mental illness and depression, and there are people who can help such as 'Mind', http://www.mind.org.uk/. Nobody should ever feel so alone and helpless that they resort to taking their own lives, and if Robin Williams' death teaches us anything, it is that we must provide better support and help for those in their time of need.
Perhaps the greatest quote I can find of Robin's is that, "No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world". This is a motto we should all live by; if you have something to say, a passion to express, a dream to achieve, then write it down, shout it out, be heard and let the world know you are here. This is our world, and it is ours to mould the way we see it. It is our responsibility to achieve all we can, and in doing so, to change the world for the better. Your words matter, your life counts, and if we can each do our bit to improve this world just a little bit, then that will go a long way to making this a better place for our children and for generations to come after that.
Robin's wife, Susan Schneider said today that, "This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings". No better words will be spoken about Williams in his life or his death, it is comfort for us all to know that he knew not just one but two great, life-changing loves. That of his family and wife, Susan, and that of his art. Since the 1970's he had been an important part of the acting world, and his loss will send shockwaves throughout the industry. Be it an intense, serious role, a heart-warming one, a one-man show with laughs galore or a getting into costume and transforming into someone new, Williams lit up the screen and wowed audiences each and every time. And with that talent, that God-given gift, he was able to make even the saddest of little ginger boys the happiest kid on the face of the Earth... For that I here thank you Robin Williams... A true Legend.
Robin once said, "Death is nature's way of telling you that your table is ready" well I think I speak for us all when I say that I wish that reservation had been put back a hell of a lot longer.
Rest in Peace Robin Williams, and from the bottom of my heart and soul, thank you for every second of joy and happiness you have brought to mine and so many others' lives.
Robin Williams: 1951 - 2014