Life is full of tragedy and disappointment, of goals and dreams unfulfilled. Last year, two of mine were abruptly destroyed right before my eyes with the untimely passings of Robin Williams and Joan Rivers. I wanted so much to meet the two people who inspired me to laugh my way through the worst that life has to offer. And now, I'll never get the chance to tell them just how much they meant to me and how grateful I truly am. However, thanks to the opportunities presented to me by writing for Moviepilot.com, I can now rectify that grave injustice and pass on these words through another medium.
To Robin Williams, The Laugh of My Life
People talk about the moments where their hearts stopped beating with their heads swirling rapidly, unable to catch their breath. I have felt this only twice in my life. The first, I can't bear to mention. The second, having to read of your death on social media like it was some kind of April Fool's prank gone too far. I tried so hard to make myself believe it was some sort of scam. I told myself, "Fake news outlets say famous people are dead all the time, this has got to be just that." I searched for over an hour for someone to just say that it wasn't true, that you were okay and that you'd laughed all of it off like you did with everything. But as the day went on, it started to become too real. You were gone. And yet, I still couldn't fully conceive that you wouldn't be there the next time someone went looking.
We didn't know you were in pain. You had become so well adapted to laughing the pain away that nobody saw the real you that was crying out for relief. I was paralyzed with grief, like so many of us, fighting every second to not break down, to not lose control. It was impossible. You had touched the lives of every person I'd ever met and millions more. You are a permanent fixture in the fabric of our lives. I want to say, thank you. Thank you, Robin for being a friend, a hero, and an outlet to channel debilitating depression into uncontrollable laughter. Thank you for inspiring me to never back down, to be unique, and to keep pushing the boundaries of my creativity. The love humanity has for you will define every generation that grows from now. In that sense, you are immortal, you will be with all of us till our dying days and I wouldn't have it any other way.
To Joan Rivers, The Champion of My Endurance
I've never been a die-hard religious person, Joan. I never saw much appeal in it with this world obsessed with science and discovery. But the day you began slipping from this world, that's the day I began to pray. I begged and begged, to anyone who might hear me, let her stay, I said. Let her wake up and go home to her family. I learned everything I needed to know about comedy from Joan Rivers. I learned to laugh at myself, why not, as she would say, people are going to anyway, why be left out of the joke? I saw so much hope whenever Joan popped up on my television screen either with Fashion Police or the reality show she shared with her daughter and grandson. She was like another member of my family of choice. Whenever I needed a laugh, you were there. The hope diamond of humanity: forever out of reach, never not thought about.
You'd still be alive today if not for mistakes made. You were so vibrant, so full of life and energy, we all thought you would outlive us. All that would be left at the end of humanity was Betty White, Cher, and Joan Rivers. It wasn't because of your plastic surgeries or the mockery that followed, it was because we had all fallen in love with you, in our own special ways. You cared about people, Joan. So many people. You used your fame and the resources you had to make a real difference in the world, you let people who had thought they were forgotten about know that they hadn't been. That's what you made me feel, too. You made me believe there was a spot for me somewhere in this world and that all I need do was go out and find it.
Goodbyes are never easy. Especially the permanent ones. Not a day will go by where I don't think about what might have been, what it might've been like to meet the two of you face to face, to hear and indulge in your captivating words of wisdom. Goodbye Joan and Robin, thank you for granting this world the gift your eternal presence. Thank you for absolutely everything. And because I have to do this or I'll never forgive myself, I send my love to you both. It's, after all, the least I can do.