Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams: Why his passing means so much..

It isn't a well kept secret that  Hollywood with all of it's glamour, lights and sparkle has it's dark corners. It's stories of scandal, drugs and infamous torrid tales of jealousy and murder. But there are few good gems that have come out of the celebrity mish-mash.  The ones despite their own demons, still try effortlessly, to use their fame for good. One such wonder was Robin Williams.

As many of us are still in shock from last night's announcement, I, myself, am floored. He wasn't just a man of many comedic talents. Yes he was a funny, funny man and earned the right to be called the King of Improv.  His talent wasn't just thinking on the fly. He had brought so many great performances to our screens. From John Keating from Dead Poets Society to Hector from Being Human. But it was Perry from The Fisher King that resonated with me. He portrayed a man bound by mental illness, but who managed to help another from the depths of suicide and depression. A relationship that both helped, Parry and Jack. In a way, his experiences in life and being so open about them have helped so many with their demons. In my mind it was one of Mr. Williams best roles. Which says a lot as there are so many.

The passing of Robin Williams is a tragic loss. Not just to Hollywood, but to the many people he helped. From St. Jude's Hospital to doing USO tours. He was one of the biggest champions for mental health. He battled his demons on a very public stage. He didn't shy way from admitting that, he too, was depressed or that he had used drugs to self medicate. If anything he wanted people to learn from him. If not from his public battles but from the roles he took in life.

Like so many tragic deaths that happen in the Celebrity world, its the ones that touch our lives in the most honest ways, that have the biggest impact. Robin Williams' death hit like a wave. A wave of sudden sadness. For those of us who suffer from depression, anxiety or any number of mental illness, we know the pain Mr. Williams had felt. We know that point of no return. If anything should come from this man's passing, it should be more education when it comes to Mental Health. It should be that people aren't always what they seem. The funniest man in the world was also the saddest.

Mr. Williams, I hope that the pain you felt inside your heart has lifted. I hope that you are now able to soar. I hope that when you look down upon us, you will see the light you have given us. Through your generosity, your smile and your immense talent to bring love and laughter to the world that solely needs it, we are grateful for the gifts you have given us.

"It begins with the king as a boy, having to spend the night alone in the forest to prove his courage so he can become king. Now while he is spending the night alone he's visited by a sacred vision. Out of the fire appears the holy grail, symbol of God's divine grace. And a voice said to the boy, "You shall be keeper of the grail so that it may heal the hearts of men." But the boy was blinded by greater visions of a life filled with power and glory and beauty. And in this state of radical amazement he felt for a brief moment not like a boy, but invincible, like God, so he reached into the fire to take the grail, and the grail vanished, leaving him with his hand in the fire to be terribly wounded. Now as this boy grew older, his wound grew deeper. Until one day, life for him lost its reason. He had no faith in any man, not even himself. He couldn't love or feel loved. He was sick with experience. He began to die. One day a fool wandered into the castle and found the king alone. And being a fool, he was simple minded, he didn't see a king. He only saw a man alone and in pain. And he asked the king, "What ails you friend?" The king replied, "I'm thirsty. I need some water to cool my throat". So the fool took a cup from beside his bed, filled it with water and handed it to the king. As the king began to drink, he realized his wound was healed. He looked in his hands and there was the holy grail, that which he sought all of his life. And he turned to the fool and said with amazement, "How can you find that which my brightest and bravest could not?" And the fool replied, "I don't know. I only knew that you were thirsty."- Parry, The Fisher King (1991)