Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Robin Williams - not a eulogy but a reflection

I heard yesterday that Robin Williams had passed, perhaps through his own choice. This is sad to hear as he was enormously talented and (among other things) a great actor.

A friend of mine on FB commented how he felt Robin died so young, and how he (my friend) was saddened and felt it that Robin had been stolen from us, and that it was wrong "not so young and not like this" which of course resonated very strongly with me.

This is not so much a Eulogy to the late Robin Williams (for of course I did not know him), as a perspective on the death of those we know and what it should mean for us.

People who know me know that my own dearest wife was taken from us at an early age.

She was only 33 when she was suddenly and tragically taken and we are all robbed of her beautiful influence.

Robin Williams in contrast was 63 when he passed from us, which is perhaps earlier than many expect but it is my view that he had a good life and a good quality of years here.

That Robin had 3 score years, was married and raised his own families is testimony to how rich Robins life was (despite the demons he felt in his heart).

Anita was in many ways just starting on her life, and she was about to embark on having a family. She taught me many things, both in life and in death.

Robbed is all I choose to say on that matter here.

From my earliest days my closest friend was Darryl, he lived just down from my house a few blocks away. We grew up together and did many things together in our childhood and adolescence. I think its fair to say I was part of his family as much as he was mine.

When we left school, Darryl went to join the Air Force to do Electronics and I went to Uni to do Biochem.

Sadly he never completed his course as he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma and died before his 21st birthday.

He left a grieving family who felt cheated, robbed of him too early. So did I. To say his death had an impact on my life would be a grand understatement.

I myself have been cognizant of death most of my life. The reminders have always been around me, even my own health, when I was recently diagnosed with an Aneurysm (rather than it being discovered at the autopsy post mortem) I instead had surgery which would "save my life".

Alas, the only truth I have found in this world is that we all die

To me what matters in life is how you live and love. Knowing that you will die, and knowing that you will not in all likelyhood know when or how should make you more strident in your quest for love and happiness in life.

The passing of Robin Williams should teach us about how we love ourselves and how from that point we can actually love others and allow others to love us.

Too many people are too busy with bullshit in their lives, making plans and probably making choices of putting things above life, love and happiness (like career or petty arguments). Too many are (at some level) lost in substance abuse, the abuse of others and the abuse of themselves. Many deny it and it is only in the death of someone very close to them they see things as they really are.

I say that if you find yourself touched by the passing of Robin Williams then in the celebration of the life he had why not reflect on your own and refocus yourself on what really matters to you.

If you knew you were going to be dead tomorrow what would you do? What would be important? Sure, statistically you probably won't be dead tomorrow, but why put off your life on the bet that you won't be?

Robin, may you rest in peace and may the world become a better place for your contributions.


Anonymous said...

Thoughtful commentary.

Charles Maclauchlan said...

We've on line chatted over the past few years. What you probably don't know about me is that for the last year I've been living in Denver caring for my son. My youngest boy, Patrick was preparing to board a flight to Nigeria for work when he developed an insanely high fever, over 105 when admitted. He was diagnosed with Leukemia and given days, perhaps weeks to live.
With a brilliant Oncologist and experimental chemo he fought that demon into temporary remission and in Jan had a bone marrow transplant, days after his 35th birthday.
His recovery was so swift and remarkable that the hospital staff applauded when he asked for his shoes and we went home, just 16 days after transplant. It turns out that this transplant is just a bag of stem cells which go in through a vein but it is the most difficult and traumatic transplant one can have. Everything needs to change, from DNA out in order to survive. He was doing quite remarkably until a day in May when his short term memory left him and he developed tremors. For the next 2 months in hospital he successfully battled Graft vs Host Disease, viral pneumonia, CMV virus, bacterial pneumonia and a severe bladder infection. As things were starting to look up he developed another lung problem they call "BOOP." Ordinarily successfully treated on an outpatient basis with steroids as he was already on steroid treatment the BOOP took him in just 2 days. I lost my incredible son June 18.

6 years Special Ops military. After his military service he put himself through College earning a Geology Degree and worked in a new specialized field about ground water. Starting Defensemen for his national champion College Hockey team he was also just starting his life. He travelled the world building his "brand." He and his fiancee had started to have serious conversations with me about children. The loss is overwhelming.

obakesan said...

Dear Charles

There are no words, only tears.

I am sorry for your loss