I really believe that stories–books, television, films, history, shared anecdotes among friends–teach empathy. The more you read, hear, see, and experience, the more capable you are of understanding your fellow human beings (and yourself). This is a priceless thing.
How devastating, then, to lose the standard-bearer of some of our most beloved stories. There are whole generations of people who owe so much of their childhood laughter–and indeed, much of their adult laughter too–to Robin Williams. From whipped-cream face masks in Mrs. Doubtfire, to the famous blue genie, to the best professor to ever quote Whitman, to Mork, to Peter Pan, to Patch Adams and to What Dreams May Come and too many more to rattle off here, we laughed until we cried and we cried until we thought our hearts would break under the spell of his sheer life force. We grew up laughing.
I can’t recall ever being so gutted by the passing of a celebrity–but he wasn’t just that, was he? He was a precious gift. I feel, and I’m sure I can’t be the only one, that a piece of my childhood, perhaps the largest remaining piece, has now been forced to grow up. I feel an enormous sense of loss.
Thank you, Mr. Williams, for the magic.