Friday, August 15, 2014

Holding Hands Together

I--as so many millions of people--am so saddened by the death of Robin Williams. He has brightened my life since I was a kid. My first memory of him is when we lived in Cushing, Oklahoma and I was in the 6th grade. We had just moved there from a tiny little town called Seiling where I had a very small class. But in Cushing? Hundreds were in my class. It was a transitional year for me in many ways and I loved it. Anyway, Mork and Mindy came on television that year--a show where Robin Williams played the part of an alien who came to live with Mindy. It. Was. Hysterical. I watched it faithfully.

Behind me in my reading class was a boy named Dirk and Dirk was soooooo cute. I was crushin' on him like nobody's business. And one day he walked into class and put his head on the chair as though he were sitting on it and said Nanu nanu. (Mork's version of hello.) In my mind? That sealed the deal. Not only was Dirk cute? He had good taste in television! And he was funny!

Like so many others I have watched many of Robin Williams' movies. I watched when he hosted the Oscars. I've watched interviews of him with Barbara Walters. He has been a large part of my cinematic life.

I will miss him.

People have been blowing up Facebook, most of them supportive and sharing sadness over the loss of such an amazing talent. But a few of my "friends" have shared how selfish Robin Williams was; how the media has glorified his death.


When something so utterly tragic like this happens, everybody has an opinion as, of course, we are all affected. We all lost a little piece of an era with Williams' passing. But from my standpoint, Robin Williams was a tortured soul. When someone exists in such deep agony, a suicidal act is no longer selfish. It is desperate; it is a tactic to end the pain. And for us to look on at a man who entertains us and criticize him, label him...That's refusing to acknowledge his pain, his feelings of no way out. To me...that's selfish.

On Monday morning, Roy and I were watching the news before we both headed off to work. They were talking about Robin Williams' death and his family, his personal life. They told the story of how Robin (we're on a first name basis now) has a daughter, Zelda, who recently turned 25. On her birthday, Robin tweeted You're now a quarter of a century old but you'll always be my baby girl.

And that tweet gave me pause. It spoke of a father's love for his daughter. It revealed tenderness and love. It spoke of something far beyond the tinsel and glitter of Hollywood.

And then they shared the grief and agony that Zelda and Robin's wife are experiencing in the wake of Robin's death. They talked about how they have requested that the media gives them space and lets them grieve. They talked about how Zelda has posted on Twitter, revealing the deep love she has for her dad. And this is the post that took my breath away:

That post, to me, said it all. That post brought it all home. Robin Williams was just another guy eeking out an existence. And while we all love him from a distance, Z loves him up close. Personal. She was daddy's little girl. She didn't just lose a genius comedian, a guy who exists on a screen. She lost the guy who tucked her into bed at night. She lost the man who bought her birthday gifts and smiled at her as though she were the only girl in the world. She lost her dad.

Yesterday was registration here at MPA where we reside. And so after I got on campus from work I didn't even bother to go home. I pulled in at the academy and walked inside to check out who had registered and say hello to all of my academy friends. It was so much fun walking down the halls and peeking into classrooms, seeing the faces of so many dear people who share my life with me: Beth and Beth and Laurie and Stella and Kim and Tammy and Nancy and Kevin and Ed and Rick and Brian and Nina and Adam and Louie. Seeing them all was so much fun. It was good for my heart as these people? They're my friends. I've shared a campus with them for four years. I've shared a job with them for two of those years. I have memories with them. They are all a piece of me.

And as I walked out of that building, I was just so thankful for each of them, for their smiles and their laughter and their warmth. I'm so glad that they are more than a figure on a screen. I'm so glad that they walk this planet alongside me. I'm so thankful for their friendship and their support.

And I hope that they will each keep shining, keep looking up. Because life is short and we have no promises that there will be a tomorrow. We're in this world together and if we don't hold each others' hands, well...who will?


  1. I'm honored and proud to walk beside you through this life and call you friend!.

  2. i second what tammy said. but you're my mother so i am honored that you're my mother. please always be. :)


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