A friend posted on Facebook recently:
I wish there was a word for the melancholy you feel when someone you never actually met suddenly dies; that strange, vague sadness of remembering them without ever having known them.
The moment I read this I realised that I had been feeling the same way; wanting to know how to grieve for someone you’d never met. I’m sure this has been touched on by many people far better qualified to discuss it than I am, but still, I felt a crushing sadness to hear of his death.
It has subsequently been revealed by Williams’ wife that he had recently discovered he was in the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease. I cannot imagine how that diagnoses must have meant to him, but I imagine that the knowledge of having a degenerative disease could not have been easy to come to terms with. His vitality was such a part of his public persona.
Williams was a huge part of my childhood, bringing warmth, strength and what seemed like real vulnerability to his roles. I’ll never forget the scene in the film ‘Hook’ where the Lost Boy says “oh there you are Peter!” Heart. Break. Every. Single. Time. Finding out that his demons were so strong that taking his own life was the best way to deal with them, was for me like finding out my parents were fallible. That the good guy doesn’t always win in the end.
I think that’s why I care so much about his death. It was like losing a father, like losing a constant in my life. He will be missed. Rest in Peace.