Remembering Robin Williams

I can’t seem to put into eloquent words how I feel about the death of Robin Williams. It might be because I didn’t know him personally. It might be because his energy was louder than life. It might be because, during the years he truly affected me, I was just learning what words meant and the various ways to use them: how they could make others laugh, like his did through the illustrated body of Genie in “Aladdin.” How they could tell a story, like his lines and their corresponding inflections did in “Jumanji.” 

Words, I learned, could help you cope, just as his in “Mrs. Doubtfire” helped me deal at a very young age with my own parents’ divorce and a new life in San Francisco. I’m sure on some subconscious level I saw myself in his daughters, and pictured Robin Williams as my anything-for-his-kid dad.

I certainly saw him as something magical in “Hook.” Even at age 26 I find it impossible to not tear up at the scene where Pockets, one the Lost Boys, puts his hands on the grown man’s face and realizes it’s Peter Pan. (“There you are, Peter!”)

And I saw him as a teacher in “Dead Poets Society” where, to come full circle, he awakened my love of words.

Typically an author is credited for doing this: Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Kerouac, Salinger — all those greats you read while still under the watchful eye of school and a homework deadline. Then, in a rare moment of escaping adolescent stupor, you pause to actually read rather than skim the page and realize, “Holy crap. This is amazing.”

I’ve had those moments. I hope I never stop having those moments. But when Robin Williams crouched down to a room full of boys (and me at age 12 if my memory is correct) to explain — with the help of Walt Whitman — why it is that we read and write poetry, my understanding of the beauty of words finally clicked.

Words don’t always come quickly, especially when we need them immediately. In this case, I guess I was just lucky that I was able to rely on his.

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  • Tracy

    R.I.P – a great actor and man!

  • This was beautiful. What a great way to recall his influence. We all benefit from the lessons you learned from him! My dad always talks about the time he met him in Boston filming Good Will Hunting and how great of a guy he was to everyone who approached him. So sad.

  • Jackie @ Kleiden drew

    How sweet Amelia. Now, you’re affecting others. You know that, right? 🙂

    • Tara Jayne

      Yep you are Amelia. Thanks for saying what I was feeling better than I could have said it.

      • Amelia Diamond

        you guys are great

  • Jessica Peterson

    Eloquently said.

  • Alexandra Puffer

    Beautiful tribute. The variety of roles he played during my lifetime and in the media I was growing into is amazing. So sad for his family and for the pain he endured. Thanks for this.

    Warm Regards,

  • Aubrey Green

    This was sweet and very well written. This is very sad.

  • Jessica

    “Oh Captain, my Captain!”

  • Katethegrr8

    This may be your best post yet. Thanks for sharing!

  • Verena Fiona

    Oh, Captain, my Captain!

  • fashcollections

    Such a lovely article – he was so talented and will be missed so much. That specific scene you mention in Hook makes me cry everytime and I’ve watched that movie countless times.

  • Georgia

    Amelia, this is wonderful. Robin’s courage, honesty and intelligence inspired me to love hard, take risks and be the happy, bold and strong woman I am today. He taught me that words can make you feel, think and consider and to make someone laugh is the most generous of gifts. It scares and saddens me when people who inspire and shape you are so sad and alone that they cease to exist. I hope he rests in glorious, laughter-littered heaven x

  • I agree. He was such a good man. His death hit me harder than I thought.

  • sarah

    what a guy. i hope he has found the freedom he couldn’t find here. so sad for us now. ;-(

  • Alma

    This is lovely Amelia! If any other celebrity had passed away it would have saddened me of course, but Robin Williams was someone who touched people’s hearts even if we didn’t know him personally. I’m a number one fan of Dead Poets Society (love reding the classics as I once told you) one of my favourite movies… The Genie is the best part of Aladdin, and of course who else could have been as young (and good) hearted as Robin to play a grown up Peter Pan! And those were just the movies, I loved his stand up comedy and even watching his interviews! It is such a loss, for us, but if he was struggling in this world I for one think he’s now at peace in some better place. Best to think of it that way I guess… Anyway, love the piece you’ve written, as usual, a lovely tribute 😉 xx, Alma

  • Thank you for the memoriam. We are in Tiburon, Ca and we are very sad to loose our local guy who gave the world so much joy–I’m glad I had the chance to tell him before he passed. He’ll forever be in our hearts.
    Janet Deleuse

  • Rebecca Egbert

    This is incredible. Lovely, Amelia!