Good Night Robin

robin williams


Last night, I was trawling Twitter just before bed when the news of Robin Williams’ death broke. I cried real tears.

It’s always strange when celebrities pass away and the world mourns via social media. Cynics say we are fools – never having met him, that this collective grief is manipulated by the need to be seen, even driven by the need for more ‘likes’ or ‘retweets’. This, in my view is dross. And here’s why…

Social media unites us and it helps spread a message faster than the news networks can write their bulletins, or the front pages can garner their headlines. The ripples of people’s outpourings of sadness can be felt worldwide, and quickly. The message of love and loss is profound and palpable. The sharing of someone’s work and impact serves to reinforce and celebrate their time with us. The time we had them. In this instance, too short a time.

Robin Williams was a genius comic and a soulful man with an ability to reach right into our hearts whether it be by his manic portrayal of the alien, Mork, or his Oscar winning psychologist in Good Will Hunting. Both roles such highlights in the performance arts, but there has been so much in between. Mrs Doubtfire, Hook, Good Morning Vietnam, Awakenings, The Birdcage; so many excellent pieces of work. Many with such an innate understanding of the human condition, portrayed with subtlety and style. My own favourite was Dead Poets Society; perfectly poised to hit a direct shot at my soul when I was 14 years old. The inspiration and passion contained within those 90 minutes of cinema stayed with me. I still hold them. “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race.” He goes on to ask his students, “What will your verse be?” Was there ever a more lovely invitation to join in to life’s riches? To play your part proudly….

Let’s not forget his comedy. The man with that unique twinkle in his eye who was able to make us cry with laughter at his verbal acrobatics. Robin Williams was a true communicator – able to raise us up with both his humour and humanity. It seems the tears of this clown were just too much to bear.

Scrolling Twitter now, I see such a huge public outpouring of love for this man, if only he could have felt that love in those moments in his home before 11am yesterday. But I’m sure he can feel them now.

In the old Irish blessing it says, ‘the cure for anything is a good laugh and a long sleep’. He gave us the laugh, and now he sleeps.

Good night Robin Williams.

Oh Captain! My Captain!

By Ellie Balfe

If you are feeling darkness you can’t seem to light up, please call The Samaritans or Pieta House. Help, understanding and comfort is out there for you.

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