I Miss You Already, Robin Williams

12 Aug

When I was ten years old, my greatest ambition was to have a pair of rainbow-striped suspenders, a la Mork, the alien who hailed from the planet Ork on my favorite TV show, Mork and Mindy. Yes, I’m serious. I remember going to the fabric store with my mother and she, bless her heart, inquired as to the availability of rainbow-striped elastic. I can’t remember why we didn’t buy any but I think it may have been because it was out of stock. So apparently there were several other kids running around town who, like me, wanted to be compared to the incomparable Robin Williams.

I have not seen all of his movies over the years, nor did I love every one that I did see, but every time that I happened to catch him being interviewed, I had to stop and watch because he never failed to make me laugh. He always amazed me with his quick wit and his hilarious comparisons. How his mind could fly from one thing to another and make it all uproariously funny! I envied his ability to think on his feet. I can think on my feet to a degree – I actually enjoyed extemporaneous speaking in speech class – but I’m not funny. I don’t have one iota of his ability to make people laugh.

Not many people do.

The truth is, Robin Williams could also make people cry. His movie What Dreams May Come is one of my favorite movies of all time. Perhaps “favorite” is not the right word. It’s too depressing to be a “favorite”. Maybe “most heart-wrenching” would be better. Or “most unforgettable”. Never has a movie made me think more about life, about death, about heaven and hell. About theology.

Is it trite to say that the world is diminished because of his loss? It is, trite or not. My heart hurts, thinking that even as he cracked us all up, he was hurting so desperately inside. I pray that I’ll give grace to the next person who irritates me – to the next and the next and the next ad infinitum – because I have no idea what is going on inside of them. Because, even if a person is smiling on the outside, on the inside they may be breaking apart.

Na-Nu, Na-Nu, Robin. I miss you.


15 Responses to “I Miss You Already, Robin Williams”

  1. Julie August 12, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    I find it unbelievable how much I’ve been affected today by his loss. My heart hurts. He really was a special guy who apparently fought his demons constantly. “No more pain for him” is the thought that makes me feel better today. Thanks for this tribute, Gretchen!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell August 12, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

      Yes, my heart hurts as well. So sad that he was…so sad. I had to write…compelled…

  2. Minnesota Prairie Roots August 12, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    Since I am older than you, I did not grow up watching Mork and Mindy, meaning that I do not have that Robin Williams connection like you do.

    That said, I so appreciate your post, your awareness that not all is always as it seems on the surface sometimes. Compassion and kindness, and maybe just really listening or sensing something is not right and acting on that, can go a long ways in comforting someone who is hurting or facing a challenge.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell August 12, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

      Yes, acting on one’s intuition rather than ignoring it. Someone on facebook once wrote something about being very depressed and I sent her a private note which she never replied to and the next day she posted something publically about people who overreact. I privately responded by saying, “Wouldn’t you rather I overreact than ignore a possible terrible situation?!!!!” She never replied. But at least I tried. 🙂

  3. Tami August 12, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

    I really was bothered by this too, Gretchen. Thanks for the heart warming post and the reminder that we don’t truly know what another person is going through.

  4. hotlyspiced August 12, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

    My Archie had the privilege of seeing him perform in a play on Broadway in 2011. After the performance Robin came out and greeted all his fans. Archie said, ‘I’ve grown up watching your movies. My favourite film when I was little was Flubber’. Robin said, ‘And we’ve both come a long way from there, haven’t we’. And then he posed with Archie for a photo. It’s so sad and like you say, just because someone is smiling on the outside, doesn’t mean they’re not battling demons on the inside. Aside from his huge talent, he seems like he was one of the nicest people around xx

    • Gretchen O'Donnell August 12, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

      I agree, Charlie- I’ve read so many nice things about him today. And how neat that Archie got to meet him!

  5. Kathleen Mickelson (@kcmickelson) August 13, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    Really nice tribute to a gifted comedian who will be missed by so many. I remember those rainbow suspenders!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell August 14, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

      Sounds like a lot of people had them! And apparently you can buy them again – sounds like someone is cashing in on his death by selling them…which makes me sad…hopefully it’s not that and they just have always had them and I just didn’t know it…

  6. Gwen Stephens August 14, 2014 at 7:36 am #

    What a lovely tribute, Gretchen, and how insightful to connect his death to the human condition — a reminder of how we should treat each other, that we never know what’s going on inside. He’s left quite a legacy.

  7. Alice August 28, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

    Still not up to talking about Williams’ death. Trying to process why it hit so hard.

  8. Neeks September 14, 2014 at 7:34 am #

    Great post on Robin Williams Gretchen. It takes an extremely intelligent mind to be able to do comedy – and he was amazing. I think my favorite of his was Dead Poets Society. And Mrs. Doubtfire. And and and…
    It makes me a little soul sick to find out how much pain he was in, and heartsick to know there was nothing we could have done to help.

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