Two days ago, I applied for my visa. It is a difficult and annoying process, and one that was hindered by a lot of emotion.
Last week, one of my favorite authors, L.A. Meyer, passed away. He was apparently suffering from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, although those of us in his fan base didn’t know that he was ill. And on Monday, legendary actor Robin Williams was found dead in his house—probable cause of death is suicide by asphyxiation/hanging.
I know that I am not the only one who finds the loss of these brilliant men difficult. I know that I do not feel what their families and friends feel. And yet I find myself immeasurably sad, especially in the face of leaving the country for a year. Even as I was filling out my passport details, my travel history, and my loan information, it felt as though I was saying goodbye to a part of my life. I’m not just leaving my familiar territory behind—I’m leaving a chunk of my childhood behind. I saw this Tumblr post late Monday night, and it embodies just how I feel about both Mr. Williams and Mr. Meyer. There is a tear in the fabric of my memories, and I don’t think it can ever be mended.
Mr. Williams has been a staple in my life since I can remember. I was weaned on Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Ferngully. As a teenager struggling with the reality that reading and writing just wasn’t cool enough for my classmates, I felt a strong connection to Dead Poets Society. And I stand by the fact that it was Robin Williams who first showed me that a person doesn’t have to fit in a box. As a kid, I thought that comedians made comedies and that that was the extent of their talent. He proved me wrong when I first watched Awakenings, a severely underrated and very emotional film, when I was about 8 years old. I had never realized that a person could be anything they wanted to be. An actor could portray a million faces, and that intrigued me to no end.
Although I never had the opportunity to meet Mr. Williams, I did get a chance to interact with Mr. Meyer on an online basis. He wrote a series of books called the Bloody Jack novels, focusing on the adventures and mishaps of a piratical young girl. After becoming entranced by the series, I became part on an online forum called the Bloody Jack Boards, a fan-based community centering around the books and other wonderfully nerdy things. Mr. Meyer himself had a profile on the forum, and often gave us first looks at upcoming book covers and spoilers. Those of us who were active moderators on the forum even received advanced reading copies signed by the author. It was a wonderful way to interact with him. Being a member of that community also gained me many friends with whom I am still in contact. Although most of us only communicate on Facebook and Twitter now, the boards were a vital, indispensable part of our late high school and early college years. I can never thank Mr. Meyer enough for bringing all of us together in such a creative way.
So thank you, gentlemen. Thank you for so many facets of my life. I will remember you fondly.