The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
EPISODE NINETY SIX: Robin…
It’s amazing to have somebody that you have never met make such an impact on your life. They usually are celebrities that we start to idolize and look up to. We follow their career, the highs, and the lows, and as long as they don’t go too far out in left field or do something horribly illegal or immoral, we follow them until the end of our lives or theirs. Maybe even after.
That’s how it’s been for me with Robin Williams.
There is a very small group of celebrities that I hold in a very high regard. Most are still alive, one is fictional, two have gone to that next world. One when I was very young, Charlie Chaplin, and the other just over two years of this writing, Robin.
I have had quite a few celebrities that I liked pass on and it hurt but when Robin went, it was the worst I ever felt when somebody I never really knew died. There was confusion, denial, more confusion, more denial, and a lot of sadness and crying.
Oh, yes. I cried. A lot.
I see him in a film or a picture and see all of that life in his eyes and my own start to well up and I think about how this world is so much emptier without him in it.
Now, there is a reason why I wanted to write about him but I’ll get to that in a bit. First of all, let me tell you why he meant and means so much to me.
I met Robin through the TV like a lot of other people when he first showed up on Happy Days. He played an alien that meets the Fonz. He was liked so much, they gave him his own show called Mork and Mindy. I watched that show religiously, week after week. I wanted this guy, this alien from Ork, to be my friend. I wanted to share in his life and be silly with him. I even tried to get my hands on his famous rainbow suspenders.
Then I saw him in The World According to Garp. Here I saw his acting ability was way past Mork. His range from silliness to seriousness could not be denied. Amazing is what he was.
Other movies came and went and I watched every one. Then Good Morning, Vietnam and that movie pulled me in. When it came out on VHS, I watched it over and over. I even learned his whole dialogue when we first hear him yell, “GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM!!!”
I bought the soundtrack on cassette and listened to that over and over on my Walkman, replaying the movie in my head when I heard each song and where it went in the movie.
More movies came and went and then came Good Will Hunting, his Supporting Actor Oscar-winning performance. I was getting older and with age, my tastes were becoming more defined. His character, Sean, felt like there was some of me in his thinking. He played a man with a deep sadness but wasn’t ready to give up. He still wanted to give and help.
Many movies, many appearances on TV and late night shows. I even watched every stand-up show he had that they had on HBO. I listened to his stand-up cassette called A Night At The Met. I wore that cassette out. And even though it was considered more adult themed and I would get into trouble if my parents heard me listening to it, I understood it all, every joke, every reference.
Robin spoke to me in ways that other celebrities couldn’t. He had become the friend that I had never met. I dreamed of being his actual friend and sharing time with him and getting to know him.
Then on October 12th, 2002, a dream came true for me. I got to see him live at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville. I was overwhelmed. There he was, standing on the stage in front of me, telling jokes with a rapid-fire wit that was genius at the same time. I teared up from time to time when I really realized where I was at and whom I was watching. It’s a moment that I’ll never forget.
But that distance from the stage from where I was at, I’m guessing about fifty feet, was as close as I would get to him physically.
Well, we all know the story. Facing a debilitating disease and an unsure future, he left us on August 11th, 2014.
Oh, yeah. I cried. And it hurt. It felt like I had lost my father or brother. It was even like when I had lost my mother, to a certain degree. All from someone that I never been close to, from someone that never knew my name or knew I existed. He may have scanned over my face in the crowd at the Grand Ole Opry House but his eyes never fell on me and acknowledged my smiling face.
When he left, it felt like a part of my soul got ripped from my body. And I wasn’t the only one that felt that way. Millions of people around the world felt the loss. And they still do.
Now, I’m not here to talk about his movies or his decisions on his death. I’m here to say that even though you may not have met somebody and you only know them through the TV or films or whatever, if they are a positive influence on your life, then they matter. They matter in a big way. If they make you smile and make you think of things in a different way that changes your life for the good, well, to mourn them is natural and shouldn’t be laughed at or denied.
OK. The main reason I wanted to write this blog post as I have been thinking a lot about Robin and I wanted to express how much I love him, even now.
And maybe, just maybe, even though I never met him in person, that maybe he knows how I feel.
Let me explain…
I believe there is something past this life. I believe there is something on the other side of the veil of death. If you don’t, your choice.
But I do.
And sometimes it’s possible to get messages from the other side.
In the past couple of months, I have had two dreams about him. I’ll tell you about the most recent one.
Last night (of this writing), I had a dream I was working at Lowe’s, the home improvement store. I worked in the lawn and garden area. But for some reason, I was inside, pushing a broom. I look up and wearing the same Lowe’s vest as me is Robin. He looks at me and asks if I wanted to help him plant some trees. I automatically drop the broom to the floor and tell him, “Yes. Of course. Whatever he wants.” And I walk down an aisle with him.
Then I wake up.
I’m not sure what that one meant but you bet your life if Robin wanted to plant some trees with me, I’d drop whatever I was doing and go help and be with a hero.
Then…there’s the one I had a couple of months ago. This one might involve some of that on the other side of the veiled message I was talking about.
I was sitting with Robin on a park bench. (After I had thought about it, it had to be a park bench from Good Will Hunting)
We’re sitting there, talking to each other. He didn’t look like he did in Good Will Hunting. More like the clip art in the picture above. I don’t remember what we talked about other than this. He looked me right in the eyes, smiled, and said, “It’ll be alright.”
And then he put his hand on my hand.
I woke up.
Was this man, someone who I still idolize and look up to, that I have never met other than being about fifty feet away from him, trying to let me know that he knows now who I am and was trying to comfort me as I fight internally over some problems I’m having?
I want to believe he was. Maybe he’ll tell me one day.
Like he said in What Dreams May Come..’A whole human life is just a heartbeat here in Heaven. Then we’ll all be together forever.’
I miss you, Robin. Save a spot on that park bench for me.
January 19th, 2018
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.