But I suppose another reason that this very public passing of a very beloved person is more profound for me as I walk through the continued grief of losing my parents so close together. I'm still in a state of shock that my father actually died in April. I often say to Doug, "I just can't believe he's really gone." And I re-live those painful final days, those awful decisions, the sad reality that he was not going to return to the vibrant, brilliant, very funny man he was. I miss him in profound ways as I long to speak with him...to share with him how GREAT the PGA golf tournament was, how sad I am that Robin Williams has died. He would've been devastated by this as well as he so respected and loved his humor and talent.
Of course, like many, Doug and I are recalling the memories we share around his films. I had forgotten that Mork began on Happy Days but I do remember faithfully watching Mork and Mindy week after week when I was a freshman in college! But it's the movies that have burned quotes, moments, profundities into our psyches. For me, I recalled immediately Good Morning Vietnam, Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society. But then Mrs. Doubtfire comes into view, followed by Patch Adams. (If you have missed this one, see it soon. It is based on a true story and is amazing). And who could ever forget the genie from Aladdin?! On and on and on....So one of the responses to all we were feeling yesterday was to watch Good Will Hunting last night. It was a good choice. We had not seen it in a long time so the details were sketchy. It was also the film in which Williams won his Oscar. He wasn't as funny in this film but offered incredible insight into the human condition. Of course, when Williams utters the line, "Real loss is only possible when you love someone more than you love yourself" I knew I was done in. The depth of emotional loss and expression and healing that unfolds between Matt Damon and Williams is just so palpable. I was actually wondering the depth of pain that Damon was feeling upon hearing this news and that made me weep a little more!
It's a toss up between Good Morning Vietnam and Dead Poets Society as far as favorite Williams' films but since Dead Poets is in my top 5, I would have to give it top billing.
When Dead Poets Society first came out, it was 1989. I was just back from living in Colombia, South America for two years and had landed a teaching job at the very same school where my father was the head football coach. We had this one very special year together, teaching at the same high school, a lower income, 50% hispanic school where there were lots of underdog kids that we both cared deeply about.
|The year we taught together at Anaheim High School, I dressed up like him on Halloween!|
I went back to see the film again and again, taking notes in the dark theater, writing down all of my favorite lines...suck the marrow out of life...using the film in talks and sermons and allowing it to continue to influence me over the years in that Carpe Diem sort of way.
So now, of course, I am dying to watch the film again, but my grief is causing hesitation. I know if I get into it I will SOB and I'm not sure when that SOBBING will stop. And it's not that I mind SOBBING but I'm just not sure about how deeply I want to feel the loss of my father right now. And yet, feeling that loss as deeply as I do reminds me of how we lived our lives in a Carpe Diem sort of way...He allowed me to pursue the things in life that I loved with no pressure to conform to any preconceived notion of how his daughter should be. He was demonstrably proud of me and equally as loving. I think I've made it clear how much respect and admiration and love I had for him as well. I know that there are a host of men in this world for whom Coach Moon Mullen is indeed captain, their captain...for this legacy I am grateful. But I'm also deeply grateful that for me, I got to know him as dad.
|Dad and I with mom's tree when we scattered her ashes. Some of his will be scattered there next.|