Wednesday, August 13, 2014

robin. popsicle. both begging us to be changed.

I remember the first time I watched a movie starring Robin Williams: Flubber

He was a zany scientist with crazy hair and this insane experiment that changed simple materials into a magic, bouncy rubber. He was the second funniest man I'd ever seen -only superseded by my dad. 

Patch Adams. Good Will Hunting. Bicentennial ManMrs. Doubtfire. So much skill, so many laughs, such an amazing ability to act. 

Bicentennial Man was the first movie that I remember crying over -never did I know I could be so attached to a robot. Patch Adams made me aware that kids get sick and unafraid because there is such a thing as nice doctors. But, Mrs. Doubtfire. It came out before I knew divorce was a thing. My dad's own divorce had the movie hitting too close to home: the fear of missing his kids, the do-or-die-sort of love, the emotions and logistics of it all. He said he sobbed, he couldn't stand it, the way it was just there at the time that was just right and just wrong for him.

Then Robin Williams' death. 

On the outside he was successful, humorous, a gleaming life marked by laughter and that smile that seemed to crack his face in two. But inside, a little demon whispered, then talked, then screamed. It's words emboldened, emblazoned in Robin Williams' mind. Words so loud, so dominant, that he died. And it weighs on me heavy, so heavy. It weighs in a way that famous deaths don't do. Then I realize it's just here at a time that is just right and just wrong for me.

So close it hurts. At that time that is just right and just wrong. 

Because, like Robin, we're tan and smiling and living the never ending summer dream. We're soaking up sun, sipping sangria, riding tractors at dusk. The outside looks just right: shiny, happy, a whole lot of fun. But inside, doors closed, windows tight, we huddle in sadness, remembering he should be there, hearing his absence whisper, then talk, never loud enough to scream over us.

It's close, yes. And in the closeness, we are changed. 

Because, like Robin, there's something going on in Popsicle's brain. Something that stands outside of modern medicine or an easy diagnosis. Something that isn't simply fixed or patched or mended. It's a something that wreaks havoc -some obvious, some hidden. It's something that remains an utter mystery birthing deep tragedy, immense fear, and suffering.

Then death brings freedom. 

Death is marked by finality: one experienced in no other way. And, with it's end, comes relief. Robin Williams no longer suffers, though we mourn in his absence. He's granted freedom from the demons, the terror, the drudgery that can be life. And we know that freedom faces Popsicle too, though we mourn. He will be free from the disease, the suffering, the betraying body.

We miss Robin. We'll miss Pop. But we're changed. 

Like Flubber, we're affected by those crazy-haired funnymen who are more than the sum of their jokes. We're changed from simple lovers of laughter to deeply appreciative friends. That change reminds us: we're all fighting demons -some just more secret than others, some more latent, less obvious, less simple.  That change inspires us to live wholly, honestly, adventurously. That change begs us to forge relationships, to hold tight while we can, to embrace the joys and the sorrows.

Be changed in memory of Robert and in the legacy of Popsicle. 

And for the road. This.


  1. This is so beautifully written, Amber! It's always so easy (for me especially) to forget that every.single.person has demons they are fighting. Some are fighting harder demons in that moment, while others' demons have taken a temporary backseat in their lives. Continuously praying for you, your dad, and your family!

  2. This gave me chills all over.

  3. This is so beautifully written. I felt every single emotion as I read this. Thank you for sharing these beautiful words.

    Xo Trish

  4. Amber, I can't tell you how much I LOVE your writing. This post was beautiful and I got a little bit teary. Thank you for writing this.

  5. I have goosebumps reading this. You're one of the few who can affect emotions through your beautiful words

  6. A tear rolls down my cheek for this, all of this and then I burst out in laughter with the parting picture. This is amazing, Amber!

  7. This was so beautiful and heart wrenching and yet, filled with a bit of hope. Hope for a better future in which science can learn more about these diseases. Thank you for your writing. It inspires many of us.

  8. "That change inspires us to live wholly, honestly, adventurously" Yes. I couldn't have said it better myself. You have a true talent Amber for reaching inside your own soul and pulling out something that easily could have been born from another. That makes your writing so relatable, even if ours lives never truly are. You have talent for days my friends. For days! And I love you for it.


  9. I don't know how you do it...your writing is so powerful and yet so personal and emotional. Once again, thanks for sharing your thoughts on such a tough topic!

  10. Oh friend, you've absolutely hit it with this one. As my tears fall and prayers go up for my own sweet Daddy, they go up for your as well.

  11. You did such a good job with this! Great writing :)

  12. In memory of Robin? I have been so deeply affected by his death, I've cried more than once. He was everyone's crazy (awesome) uncle and we're all mourning a family member.

  13. Tears. Your writing always touches me so deeply, Amber. I actually think about and pray for you and your sweet pop often. And if we were having coffee together right now, I wouldn't say anything else, I'd just give you a big hug.


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