“Oh, Captain, My Captain”
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“Oh, Captain, My Captain”

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“Oh, Captain, My Captain”

Robin Williams, comedic genius, actor, philanthropist and humanitarian, passed away at the age of 63 on the morning of August 11, due to asphyxiation. Writing those words doesn’t seem real. Even thinking it seems ludicrous. How could the man who gave life to the Genie, Mrs. Doubtfire, John Keating and Sean Maguire take his own? But this article isn’t about Williams’ death. It’s about his life and how he touched me and so many others.  

I was first introduced to Robin Williams, like almost every other person my age, via the classic Disney movie, Aladdin, in which Robin Williams voiced that big hearted blue magical, Genie. As a child, I laughed, but I didn’t know how that just scratched the surface of his comedic genius. As I grew older, I watched more of Williams’ movies, like Jack, Dead Poets Society, Mrs. Doubtfire, (which made me question my own babysitter’s identity for a long time), and of course, his Oscar-winning performance in Good Will Hunting. His range of characters, and ability to give hilarious and dramatic performances, was astounding. I remember watching Good Will Hunting and thinking that this could not be the same person who made me cry from laughing in Mrs. Doubtfire. The calmness, power and emotion he brought to Sean Maguire was magical. The man was pure talent. 

Robin Williams was known for the almost impossible bar he set in the comedic world. He wit was lightning fast; he was known for improvising lines while filming which would be so hilarious that directors would keep them in the film. Watching some of his standup routines on YouTube, after I learned of his passing, I had tears in my eyes knowing the man I was watching was gone forever, but laughing because this was him at his finest.

Williams’ facial expressions, rapid talk and wild gestures brought his routine to a whole new level, and hearing the roaring laughter of his audience showed how much he was beloved by fans.

Williams suffered from severe depression and substance abuse, checking himself into rehab multiple times, most recently in early July. It is so tragic that the man who gave so much laughter, light and joy to the world could not escape his own darkness.

There is a stigma around depression, that you can overcome it, you can come out of it with help and medication. However, this is not always the case. Depression is a disease and it affects the mind as well as the soul. Unfortunately, it took away another bright light from this world.

Robin Williams, you filled my childhood and teenage years with laughter. You will always make me smile and laugh, even as my eyes fill with tears watching your performances. May you rest in peace, always. Heaven has gained more laughter than it held before. 

Here are my six favorite Robin Williams quotes:

“No matter what anybody says, you’ll always be a prince to me.” Genie, Aladdin.

“But if there’s love, dear… those are the ties that bind, and you’ll have a family in your heart forever.” Mrs. Doubtfire/Daniel Hillard, Mrs. Doubtfire.  

“You’ll have the bad times, but it will always wake you up to the good stuff you weren't paying attention to.” Sean Maguire, Good Will Hunting.  

“You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it.” Robin Williams.

“Your move, chief.” Sean Maguire, Good Will Hunting.  

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” John Keating, Dead Poets Society."

If you, or someone you know, suffers from depression or suicidal thoughts, please reach out to them or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1(800) 273-TALK (8255). http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/            

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