O Captain! My Captain!

Robin Williams
Last night as I crawled into bed, the news broke that Robin Williams had died, assumed suicide. Stunned, just stunned to silence, except for endless screams of “Nooo!!!” in my head. I hoped they’d got it wrong, like they ever do, but I hoped ~ I hoped it was a prank, but no it proved as the hours of newsreel went by it wasn’t, nor had the news changed when I woke up this morning.  This great man, actor and comic genius had died.

How? Why? and Why? again.

The news spread last night, as it does in this modern world, faster than a wildfire, through all the social media sites with the same stunned reaction. No hideously sick jokes, thankfully, as so often come with a celebrity death. Just shock, sadness and desperation that depression has claimed another life.

He wasn’t just a comic genius, but a very fine dramatic actor ~ when all the news channels described him as the “Mrs Doubtfire” actor, I thought of “Dead Poets Society” with similar themes running through his life ~ high expectations placed upon him and outside pressures, and the ever present dark cloud of depression looming endlessly ready to deliver its devastating final verdict.

The film is uplifting but heartbreaking and so was He.

There have been too many deaths of late through misadventure, overdose or suicide. It seems as though the pressure of public life is so great that dealing with it is near impossible. Do we demand too much and care too little?

As you exit our classroom for the final time, let the world stand on their tables and salute you through tear stained eyes ~ O Captain! My Captain! ~ we will miss you so very much.

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