My father cried when baseball great Micky Mantle died. He never denied it, he just told me that's what happened. Mickey Mantle made my father's childhood (and really, adulthood) slugging home-runs for the Yankees, and when he passed on, my father felt a part of him leave too.
What makes that even more amazing is that it's my father and it is a fact. My father is not the emotional type. My father is the blue jeans, blue-collar type to put duty in all forms before himself. And when he admitted to me he cried over the death of a man he never met, I knew there was something special there.
And now I feel the same.
There is no questioning Robin Williams was an outstanding character of characters, an incredible ball of energy and talent. Williams was a man known for the laughs he produced for all ages from Aladdin to Jumanji to Mrs. Doubtfire.
We each have our favorites and that's the point. Williams made our world richer with the stuff we need and then he did something so very much the opposite. He left us and really there is no one to blame. No one. We're just left with the sadness. And that's sometimes how it goes.
And it's easy to say that. We're not that surprised. We've seen this before. What did you expect?
But in the end, we make it about the story. That's what the talented among us are known for giving. The contributions of the best of us become that much more compelling when there is nothing more to come from the source. It reminds us that we've only got a short time to give what we can before it goes away. Forever.
We don't need to chalk it up to a lesson in life that no one can really be that happy or funny or great. We can be. I believe that. What I think it proves even more is how absolutely important we are to each other.
It's not about death, it's about life. It's not about the tragedy, it's about the comedy. It's not about yourself, it's about the others. It's not about the past, it's about the present. As Williams, playing Keating, beckoned to the boys of the film The Dead Poets Society, "Carpe diem." But do it for yourself and do it for the rest of us.