Today I like so many others mourn the death of Robin Williams.  It came as a complete and unbelievable shock to me in the midnight news last night.  Robin Williams, the world has been a better place because you were in it. Your depression got the better of you, but you were an inspirational man.

Like so many people I laughed at Mrs Doubtfire, the man who was so desperate to be with his children that he pretended to be a woman to become their nanny.  It was light and entertaining but with a serious message to the children that sometimes mummies and daddies split up but still love the children.

Dead Poets Society, Awakenings and What Dreams May Come are some of my favourite films.  Serious films with serious and heartbreaking material.  I don’t remember as much of them as I would like to, a lot has happened since I saw them.

What Dreams May Come made quite an impact on me, as Robin Williams, the man killed in a car crash, is guided through the afterlife and told that everything he sees around him is the product of his own mind.  He goes on a rescue mission to hell to save his wife who died later through suicide, and he is reminded that all the turbulence he is experiencing is also the product of his own mind.  It is a very painful film, showing the pain of interplay between the wife’s surviving world after the crash and his attempts to comfort her from the other side.  There is a scene where he embraces her from behind and she screams.

Awakenings is a fictionalised drama based on the true account by Oliver Sacks about some victims of encephalitis who have been catatonic for years and then a new drug wakes them up to a new life.

In Dead Poets Society Robin Williams played the part of an English teacher who sought to inspire his pupils through poetry.  He tried to draw out their individuality and self-expression.  He was later fired after being blamed for the suicide of a boy who played Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream against his parents wishes.  The boy had wanted to be an actor but his father had wanted him to go to Harvard.  It was a traditional school where Keating (Robin Williams) used to go himself and he was challenging the system.

I liked Robin Williams because he could play roles where he was both moved and moving.  I found all three of these films completely absorbing.

Death is always hard.  Suicide is harder.  I asked some people this morning if they had heard about the death and most of them had.  I asked a couple of the domestics if they had heard and they ended up saying it was selfish.  I was horrified by the judgmentalism, especially from staff working in a place like this, it made me feel sick.  Robin Williams was loved, and for good reason.  One of them said it wasn’t as if he didn’t have a pot to piss in.  Depression can affect anyone, regardless of their status.  I was disgusted by this.

I have been heartened today to see and hear the tributes to him.  I feel as if I am going to be affected by this news for the rest of my life.  One person I didn’t expect to be going anywhere soon was Robin Williams.

I’m a Christian.  I have been taught to believe that Christians go to heaven and non-Christians go to hell.  I don’t know where Robin Williams stood with things, but I hope God will be merciful.  I hope he will rest in peace.

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