Dear Mr. Williams,
We’ve never met. I can’t say I really know you. I haven’t seen all of your movies. I’m surprised that I even remembered that you were from Canada. All I know is that when I learned of your passing a couple of days ago, it felt as if a part of me was broken off and torn from me. I went from denial, to shock, to sadness. I checked with Facebook and Twitter hoping the news was a hoax. It wasn’t. I didn’t realized I cared about you that much.
As the day went on, I read tribute after tribute from your friends and family. People who knew you much better than I did, people who loved you, who were inspired by you, who will miss you. I choked up. Tears ran down my face. I’ve never been emotionally saddened by the passing of a celebrity. I realized I was going to miss you.
What’s strange is that till a couple of days ago, I didn’t really think about you. I didn’t know what your schedule was, where you were at, what you are were doing at the time. But over these past couple of days, I can’t stop remembering you. Now that you are gone, I remember how much you mean to me.
The first movie I ever saw with you in it was “Hook”. You portrayed a man that cared more about his career than his family. A man who had forgotten what it was to dream and to imagine. A man who forgot to play. A man who needed to remember what was truly important. You were Pan the Man. Only your ability to be serious, fun, adventurous, and childlike fit that character. Even though I was 8 at the time, you made me believe that life was and could be magical, that we had forgotten this. I believed.
When I was 13, I auditioned for the school play. Of all the songs I could have picked, I thought of “Friend Like Me” from “Aladdin.” I did it because of you. I loved the personality you gave to the character of Genie. I tried my best to do all of the voices, the different intonations with my voice. You gave such life and joy to a lot of your characters and Genie seemed a great reflection of you. Fiercely loyal. Incredibly humble and compassionate. A major goof. It also reminded me of the person I wanted to be.
You were such a genuine person that I would forget that you were acting. In “Mrs. Doubtfire” I was touched by the way you portrayed a father who would do anything to be with his children. I think of that often. The love that one must have to go to extreme measures to be with the ones they love. In my own life, will I have that same courage? Will I love so deeply?
But it’s your role in “Good Will Hunting”, the lessons I learned from you in that movie, that changed how I see life today. I was that cocky brat like Matt Damon’s character. I’m not as brilliant, but I definitely thought I knew enough in life to think I had most of it figured out. Things like love. I was wrong. I remember you explaining that love was about the little things, the special moments you get to share with someone that nobody else knows, the good times and the bad. And then you said:
“You don’t know about real loss, ’cause that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself. I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much.”
I was in a point in my life where this was true. I never dared to love anyone that much, not even myself.
You see Mr. Williams, though you played many roles, you might not have known how big of a role you played in my life or millions of others. Though I never knew you, it felt like you knew me. I could relate to you. You possessed that rare talent to make us laugh, make us cry, to comfort us, and to remind us of how special life is. That is why I feel like something was abruptly stopped, torn, and broken in my life. You are an important icon for our generation.
Though I can never imagine what you went through in your life, I can only hope that you knew how thankful people are for you, how much they loved you, how much they will miss you.
Thank you Mr. Williams for being a huge part of my life.
Rest in peace.