I don’t think I want to say goodbye to Robin Williams. I think I want to say thank you.
I want to say thank you for the smile on my older brother’s face when he watches ‘Hook’ - again - and remembers that he’s still a kid, even if he’s technically all grown up.
I want to say thank you for my younger brother’s laughter when we witness another chaotic riff on a new episode of ‘The Crazy Ones’, a show that we got to enjoy together.
I want to say thank you for the look of adoration and respect on my father’s face as we watch old reruns of ‘Mork & Mindy’, the show that made my young father feel that it was okay to be different, it was okay to be odd, it was okay to be yourself.
I want to say thank you for the way my mother’s face lights up when ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ is on TV, even if she had a bad day, even if she’s tired, and how she laughs every time.
I want to say thank you for the way my little nieces watch ‘Flubber’ and ‘Jumanji’ for the first time, with wide eyes and laughter and clapping hands.
I want to say thank you for the chorus of my friends’ voices singing along to “Friend Like Me” and “Prince Ali”, and for those same voices telling the Genie that they’ll miss him, too.
I want to say thank you for the timeless films, for ‘Good Will Hunting’, for ‘Dead Poets Society’, for ‘Patch Adams’, just as much as I want to thank you for the nonsensical joyrides, for ‘Robots’, for ‘Popeye’, for ‘The Birdcage’.
I want to say thank you for the songs that ring through my house, permanently burnt into our brains. I want to say thank you for the smiles that come to our faces every time we think of you. I want to say thank you for your comedy, for your tragedy, for your affirmations, and for your dedication. I want to say thank you for your flaws, for your interviews, for your stops in coffee shops, for your words of wisdom on the street. I want to say thank you for your sensitive side, your caring side. I want to say thank you for your humanity. I want to say thank you for your little jokes, and your big ones. I want to say thank you for making it okay for someone to be a little weird, a little off, a little chaotic. I want to say thank you to Robin Williams for making the world a happier place.
I want to say, “It’s not your fault.” I want to say, “Carpe diem.” I want to say, “You made your life spectacular.” I want to stand on a desk for you and say, “O’ Captain, my Captain.” Hell, I want to say, “Nanu nanu,” and I want to shake your hand. I want to say thank you, for everything you’ve done, for this world you’ve touched. For everything you have left behind, that will continue to shape our world.
So, no. I don’t think I want to say goodbye to Robin Williams. But that’s just because, while we lost a man, we will never lose who he was, what he became, and what he’s done for us. We’ll never lose the smiles, the songs, the tears, the laughter. We’ll never say goodbye to the world as he made it.
Thank you, Robin Williams.