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There Are Angels Among Us – A Tribute to Robin Williams

I never knew Robin Williams personally, however, from the first moment in 1978 when an adorable alien named Mork arrived in our family room from planet Ork, I fell in love. I was twenty-five years old (oh my, I’m dating myself) and “Na-Nu Na-Nu” was my go-to phrase when I was feeling happy and magnanimous. “Shazbot”, well, that worked when I wasn’t, but it was far better than any other profanity I might consider using.

Robin and I were contemporaries of the same generation. While I was still finding my place in life, he was the funniest man alive. No one could out-funny Robin Williams. For this he was blessed with an illustrious career and awarded countless accolades. Everyone loved him, it was impossible not to. His brilliant spontaneity and ability to ad-lib were just a small part of his immense talent. A chameleon that was capable of morphing into any role, whether it be comedic or dramatic, he produced a brilliant stream of unforgettable characters. Can you imagine anyone else playing Popeye or Patch Adams? How about Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning, Vietnam, for which he won a well deserved Academy Award, or Vladimir Ivanov in Moscow on the Hudson, a man determined to live his dream of freedom? Who else could have filled his shoes? The list goes on and on, it is a filmography that would be hard to replicate, perhaps impossible.

What is most telling is that he went on to capture the love and admiration of my children, the next generation. My kids were as crazy about this otherworldly being that refused to grow up as I was. All told, I must have watched Hook, Jumangi, and Mrs. Doubtfire a thousand times with my kids. You just knew when you watched Robin that you were witnessing authenticity. He was that caring, sensitive, endearing individual who gave more than he got. He existed, so anything was possible.

The loss of such a man is all the more heartbreaking because any of us would have done anything we could to have helped him. He had his demons, his depression, his own personal hell; for 63 years he fought them tooth-and-nail. It is heartbreaking to think that the drugs and the alcohol may have been the only way that Robin could live up to Robin. That they won in the end and stole his light from this world is an unbearable sadness for his family, friends, and his millions of fans the world over.

It occurred to me that angels walk among us, and that Robin Williams was one of them. Perhaps God gifted us Robin, for what ended up being far too short a time. We welcomed him into our hearts, and he touched our lives with magic. He was a panacea, a teaspoon of sugar that made the medicine go down. He made it easier to deal with a difficult, daunting world. The tragedies of life fill us with tears, but Robin gave us laughter, which there is never enough of.

Since the announcement of his passing I’ve had this unshakable image of Robin in heaven doing what he did best: the accents, the witticisms, the perfection of timing and delivery, the humor that never rested, the entertainer that never left the stage. I imagine God, clutching himself in side-splitting laughter, delighted to have the angel Robin returned to his place in heaven.

Go gently into the night Robin, may you find peace among the stars. Thank you for the cherished memories and the treasure trove of characters–the magic that was yours alone. Know that your brilliance will continue to bring us laughter, even if now it will be through a veil of tears. I will miss you “O Captain! My Captain!” “Na-Nu-Na-Nu!”