Last week, the world lost one of our most beloved icons, Robin Williams. He touched so many lives with his humor and shaped so many of our childhoods.
I was shocked to hear of his death. At first, I thought it was another one of those hoaxes we see so often. Later, I could only WISH it was a hoax. I found myself inexplicably upset with his passing. Just the though of it would bring me to tears.
I had no idea why it was hitting me so hard. Was it because I felt like a little piece of my childhood died? Was it because he left behind a family who loved him very much? Was it because it was so sudden and came without warning?
All of those reasons didn’t seem to justify this intense feeling of sorrow and hurt. It was almost as if I had lost my own father. And just like that … I knew why.
As a child, my dad connected with us the only way he knew how: with humor. If you know my dad, you know that he was just like a big kid. Always trying to crack jokes and make you laugh. Quoting movie lines, inside jokes, silly voices… they were part of our everyday. It was always hard for my dad to connect with me on an emotional level. Humor was our glue.
I guess, subconsciously, I connected with Robin Williams just like I connected with my dad. They were similar in the fact that they brought so much joy and laughter to my life.
They also shared another trait, they both suffer from depression. After my mom and dad split up, I could see a change in my dad. A change that I didn’t like. He seemed hurt and angry. I don’t want to go into specifics, but it was concerning to me. I was always afraid for his safety.
It has been extremely hard to cope with this connection between him and my dad and I cannot help but think of a similar outcome for my dad.
I wish that I could reach out to my dad and tell him how I am feeling, but I fear none of our jokes will help me bring these feelings to the surface for him to hear. We connect with humor and this topic is a little too deep to share. Sure, I can write about it here or mention my feelings to my brother or mom, but bringing these feelings to my dad’s attention is a little more difficult.
In some ways, I hope he just happens to read this and in other ways I hope he never does. It upsets me to think he might be hurt by my unwillingness to share these feelings with him.
I can only hope that soon I will be able to speak with my dad about my fears and feelings and that I may learn something from the death of Robin Williams. I cannot imagine the pain and suffering his family must be going through, nor do I ever want to experience it.