I started this blog post out on another topic. Fifteen minutes ago, that all changed. I popped over to Facebook to check a few messages, and discovered that Robin Williams had died…of an apparent suicide.
March 19th, 1982. September 27th, 1986. August 9th, 1995. July 28th, 2014. August 11th, 2014. For those that are not aware: Randy Rhoads, Cliff Burton, Jerry Garcia, Margot Adler, and Robin Williams. Each had a profound effect on my life. Rhoads and Burton introduced me to a style of music that I have never set down. Garcia showed me a world of poetry, and helped me understand how expanding one’s vision can help broaden one’s experiences. Adler was my introduction to the world of Paganism. Robin Williams was all the stuff in between – the little bits of glue that provided funny moments, encased in brilliant social commentary.
And I sit here, watching my blinking cursor, as I try to find something – ANYTHING – to say. In a way, its a similar feeling to when I found out that Jerry had died. I remember that day – and the subsequent night very well. The total numbness I felt, and the evening sitting in a local park near downtown Dallas – holding a candle and signing song after song from the Grateful Dead catalog with complete strangers. We all were bonded by the poetry, and the music.
And as I sit here, listening to some Grateful Dead while I write this – the lyric “We well get by, we will survive” echoes through my speakers. And even going on past this day – into an uncertain future…one filled with news article after news article of violence, bloodshed, angry rhetoric, hateful politics — his comedic genius and timing, his biting commentary on social matters, and the heart-felt love he portrayed in his on-stage shows…. All of that will continue. He had shown a light of laughter, joy and fun into a world that increasingly is clouded into darkness through the actions, angry and hatred of others.
And while it is sad that he has passed – and that there may be even more tragedy behind the “why” of his death — his legacy is one of smiles, laughter, and enjoyment. I remember the soaring riffs of Randy and Cliff, the poetic stylings of Jerry, and the manner in which Margot injected her thoughtful commentary into the information she provided to us. I will remember Robin’s laughter, his antics, his comedic brilliance, his ability to turn a moment from something somber into one of hysterical laughter — he was the consummate improvisational comedian. He will definitely be missed…but he most assuredly will be remembered.