I think about death a lot.
Not in a you-should-be-worried sort of way, but in a morbid captivation sort of way. Desiree, who did my star chart back in the day, would not at all be surprised by this: she already knew that I spent a lot of time thinking not only about my own impending death, but about death in general. It truly is a macabre fascination of mine, pondering how I will ultimately meet my demise and even what my funeral will look like.
I’ve also come to realize that I have my entire service planned, right down to hosting a drunken singalong of Monty Python’s Always Look On the Bright Side of Life. After you char me to a crisp, of course.
More than that, though, even more than the nuts and bolts of the party you’ll attend when I expire, I often wonder how I’d be remembered.
2016 was a rough year for celebrity deaths. I think everyone can agree on that. Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Harper Lee, Nancy Reagan, Prince, Gene Wilder, and Carrie Fisher are just a few. All of those I listed seemed to have a profound effect on the public. Everywhere you turned, someone had a story about a showing of kindness displayed bu Alan Rickman, or a battle story of the strength of Carrie Fisher. I have to tell you, though, absolutely nothing, none of the deaths of 2016 hurt me quite like Robin Williams’ death did back in 2014. Perhaps it was growing up watching Mork & Mindy on TV Land, or seeing Mrs. Doubtfire over and over, or loving the silly Genie from Aladdin. Robin Williams was involved with a million things that I celebrate from my childhood.
In the wake of Robin Williams’ death, I became more and more entranced with the idea of death and what it meant to be remembered. So many people came forward to share their own personal stories of their time with the funniest man on earth, and each and every account paints Williams as a beautiful man who gave and gave and gave, even when he was running on fumes, so close to empty. Outside of the occasional shitbag few who want to stigmatize depression and suicide, there was nary an unpleasant word spoken of Robin Williams. As it turns out, he was absolutely everything to everyone but himself.
I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.