When I heard that Robin Williams had died, I was instantly shocked. How could someone we have known, and watched, and enjoyed for so long – simply be gone. That shock eventually dissipated and was replaced with an overwhelming sense of loss and emptiness. It is a loss that is hard to quantify, when so much of what he’s done seems intertwined with our lives. Who can forget his portrayal of Genie in Aladdin, or his words of inspiration and truth in Good Will Hunting?
Despite the sadness of knowing that there will no more Robin Williams movies, we are also lucky that so much of his work remains for us to watch and enjoy.
Although Robin William’s death is a tragedy, there are of course, far more real tragedies in the world that occur every day, such as death and famine and war where thousands of people die, but nevertheless his death is one that the world seems to have taken personally.
The reason why people around the world are so effected by his death is that in him lies a reflection of all of us. We had a person who achieved amazing things, who caused us to laugh and cry, who fought with demons and seemed to conquer them for a time, only to ultimately fall by them. He probably reflects both the best of what we can be as well as the fear of what we can become.
The tragedy of Robin Williams is that he had so much more to give the world. In there lies a microcosm of all of us. We all have potential – some realised and some not. Robin Williams was a life cut short, but at least he lived before he died.
In this world, the ultimate tragedy of life is not simply dying, but not having lived in the first place.