For Robin…

August 13, 2014

A blog, rant and tribute by Carrie Klemm. Special to MCP.

Alright, I’m about to rant, so get ready.

In the wake of a celebrity’s passing, millions, no billons of people share quotes, pictures, and old funny stories. For a few days, the media and every social network within the US (and outside of the US for certain celebs) scream a trend in that person’s name. Many are the discussions of the tragedy, at times in a bit more detail than is really necessary, in my opinion,  but also talks of celebrations the life of said person, how they touched so many people.

There is too, inevitably, a ton of posts from people disgruntled at that fact, those claiming that some rich, cocky celeb gets all of this media attention because they had the “poor little rich girl” syndrome. “What about our troops? The millions of innocent children dying all over the world? The poverty stricken families who live in the streets, unable to find food? Why are they ignored?”

Here is what upsets me:

Though I am very much a make-love-not-war brand of person, I hugely support our troops. I am eternally indebted to those who serve our country, both past and present. I know from where my freedoms derived and am incredibly grateful that I can even express an opinion and share it with others. Thank you, any and all of you who may read this. Thank you. I know that military personnel do not get the care they deserve post-war and I can’t imagine the depths of the depression they may experience. I, myself, would not survive, be it war or post-war. Veterans and those currently serving: you are more brave than I could ever even try to be. I am afraid that I’ve come to the conclusion that there will always be war, always be battles, and for that reason, I am thankful that we have such strong men and women who are ready to fight. For the sake of hope for each and every one of your lives and for my own, though I don’t put myself at the helm as you do, I pray for peace.

For the millions of starving families, for the refugees of war and persecution, for the homeless and the sick who will never be well, and for those who find wellness after an illness that results in too much hospital debt to avoid homelessness, I offer hope. You should not be ignored. Unfortunately we live in a world where greed and guns rule, hatred is dominant and too many people take advantage of a loop-holed system. This is not because of one leader who brought it upon us, there is not one president or one party to blame, we live in a world of indifference where the majority turn a blind eye to those who can’t make it in a survival-of-the-fittest society. It absolutely devastates me.

I’m not claiming to be holier-than-thou. I’m not perfect. I donate when I can, but don’t volunteer as much as I could and I also enjoy spending money on myself, typically resulting in traveling to some new destination or purchasing really great souvenirs as a result of traveling, such as, lets say, a pair of true, Wyoming cowgirl boots. Yes, there is vanity. Yes, there is selfishness. I am grateful that I am able to live the life I live, though not without hard work of my own. I am human. I feel this is necessary to say, because I know that I, myself, could contribute more than I do, and it’s about darn time that I did.

What irritates me to no end is that the world that we live in is dark. Reality can be terrifying and painful. So I ask you, how can we not celebrate those who shine a little light and help us to see the good? How can we not celebrate the comedians who make us laugh, the singers who belt their hearts out to our delight, the authors who pour their souls into a page and the actors who embody a character so well that we find ourselves crying at the end of a movie because it’s over? Those whose talents are to entertain us in a world that can be so dark.

Today, I celebrate Robin Williams. I cried for a solid ten minutes when I first read the news, devastated that he lost his life to depression. For anyone to simply say that he was a “poor-rich-man who committed suicide,” I ask you to reconsider. As he did not know of the struggles you deal with on a daily basis, you did not know of his. Depression is real. To the audience, he hid it well. No, he wasn’t starving. I don’t know if he ever served in any branch of the military, but I can guarantee he has made many a soldier laugh in a time when laughter seemed all too distant. The same can be said for many of the poor who found a smile in his presence or even just on the television screen.

How can we simply forget that this celebrity was also a man? Though near the end of his life, he was prosperous, he was also a man who dealt with his own share of struggle in finding himself, in forcing his passions to come to fruition and in seeking contentment. He is one of the ultimate proofs of the truth that money does not buy happiness. All of the riches in the world cannot fill a void so deep. I cannot even begin to try to understand his pain or that moment when he decided that death was better than life, but that is not for me, nor for anyone else in the world to understand.

He was a man who touched many of us in ways that we can never describe. I am deeply saddened by his passing.

I remember the summer before my seventh grade year when Jimmy Stewart died. Jimmy, a person who made me cry tears of thankfulness and love with my family every Christmas because George Bailey finally realized that it really was a wonderful life. I knew he was old, the man died at 89, but it was still a surprisingly hard hit. I remember thinking “wow, one of these days, I will be so old that it will be normal for the celebrities to whom I relate to start dying.” Not realizing, at that young, naive time, that old age isn’t all that consumes the human life.

In a strange truth, can we not associate this passing with that of a distant family member? Let me be clear, I am not taking the passing of a family member lightly be any means. I can separate those I truly know from those who play characters on the screen or on the pages.  What I mean to say is this: people like Robin Williams and Jimmy Stewart, the entertainers, these people touched so many of our lives. We invited them into our living rooms as strangers and we watched them on the screen as they connected, they related, they made us feel that life is hard, but darn it all if we don’t give it all we’ve got. They gave us hope, they gave us smiles, they made us cry but, oh could they make us laugh. Ultimately, they inspired.

I admit that there are many undeserved celebrities in the world, but Robin Williams, in my opinion, deserves a standing ovation.

Rest in peace, “Oh Captain, my captain.”


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