It’s hard, at times like these, to string words into sentences that can adequately describe the strange feeling in the pit of your stomach. It’s not grief, not loss, as you’ve no tangible being to grieve for and nothing has been lost - it’s all still there, on badly worn VHS tapes and on DVDs that are still in their plastic wrappers because you’ve seen those movies too many times but you had to have copies at hand.
It’s also hard to say anything that hasn’t been said already, or which can’t be better said by someone more qualified, someone with a personal connection to the deceased, someone proper.
In the end, all you can do is share what the departed meant to you, how they affected you, how they brought you joy – a selfish act, maybe, but something you may find you need to do in order to show to yourself that you cared, to help you deal with the dreadful emptiness welling up inside of you that you can’t seem to contextualise.
My Robin Williams is the Pan that grew to be a man, a lost soul who reconnected with his childhood and faced down a dark and sinister man with nothing but grit and a little pixie dust.
My Robin Williams is the boy named Jack who grew four years for every one, a smiling face that taught me not to be afraid to grow old and not to put too much stock in appearance or age.
My Robin Williams is the little boy who was sucked into a board game, forced to grow up without comfort or company, but who was still able to crack wise in the face of unspeakable danger.
Later, of course, I would discover the actor capable of bringing tears to my eyes in the likes of Good Morning Vietnam and Good Will Hunting and Patch Adams. A man able to make my flesh crawl in One Hour Photo, my heart ache in World’s Greatest Dad and my sides split on stage and on screen.
And yet, he remains, in my heart, the friendly face that held my hand through dangers untold. The father figure that was childish enough to relate to and real enough to make the mermaids and the pirates and the man-eating plants around him seem real. The voice of the erratic blue whirlwind of dreams that I ain’t never had a friend like before or since.
And he’ll always be that, to me. And he’ll always be whatever he was to you.
It’s all there, on the celluloid, whenever you need someone to play Mork to your Mindy.
My Robin Williams, and your Robin Williams, lives on.