It takes a number of exposures to a star's performance, usually, before you begin to track who they are and what they do. We remember Robin Williams from his first explosion on screen. He was wild, he was wacky, he was a singularity. And he held our attention from the first second, to the last. I saw him on Happy Days, and knew we were on a ride.
He started off a favorite. a squirrelly little guy with boundless energy, pin pointing our faults, our stars, our hopes, our dreams, the places where we needed some work: where hubris took over, where money bought us access to the thing we should NOT be having, where love stopped short. We loved him. Instantly, Insanely. Incredibly. It was a love that stuck.
His movies were wonderful, although the directors corralled him too closely, and one was dark, too dark. Now that I think about it, that one probably mirrored his inner self. I'm so sorry about that.
Loved that as he aged he became a triathlete, a place for all that energy. Loved that he loved kids, that he was a dad. Loved that he performed for the troops, didn't take himself so seriously, loved that he gave so much money away. Loved that he turned out to be a good man, a gentle man, a man packing around a good heart. In. Spite. Of. It. All.
Yeah, loved that.
Watched him dazzle Dave Letterman and Jay Leno, who had no words, who did have the good sense to just shut up and let him go. And go, he did.
So here are my lessons in his passing: That serious mental illness can co-exist with extraordinary talent, wild genius and a good heart. It takes all of a man to harness that energy and make it work, at least most of the time.
My guess is this: that his depression, black as it was, became unbearable, unmanagable, irretrievable. He lost sight of his own goodness and his own power. I've been sad. We all have been sad. Sad that his life was lost too early. Sad that he had to suffer endlessly and to pretend that he was not.
I asked God if he caught him on the fly. He said He did and took him home, wrapped him in a blanket of love, acceptance, and sweet peace. Made hot cocoa and an apple pie for him, hugged him hard until the pain melted away.