When I heard the news of Robin Williams’ death on August 11, 2014, I felt it viscerally, along with so many other people around the world.
I’ve seen most of his most famous movies, but the one I thought of immediately was Dead Poet Society, a film I have often watched with English majors. The character in the film who made the greatest impression on me was Neil, the boy who takes his own life after he despairs of his parents’ lack of understanding and love. Robin Williams plays the teacher who awakens Neil’s voice as a poet only to mourn his death.
Reading Williams’ obituary through the lens of his own suicide, I went back again to the famous “Carpe Diem” passage and understood why Mr. Keating’s love for Neil comes through so clearly in the movie. Williams, who was painfully shy and went to a private school himself, must have identified with all the boys, but especially with Neil. Here’s the famous scene from the very beginning of the movie,
I think the best tribute any of us can make to Robin Williams is to Seize the Day ourselves.
My post for Not Quite Amish this week tells how a bike ride into Old Order Mennonite farm country helped me seize one day and made me think of my own epitaph.
Has any death made you more determined to live now? How?