O Captain! My Captain!

I just finished watching Dead Poets Society because I needed a way to mourn and to process Robin Williams’ passing. Throughout the movie I could still deny that he was gone – how could he be? He’s right there. And I seriously and foolishly thought that everything was still the same. And then that last scene hit. I forgot how that would play out. I forgot how his face would be framed like that, with his last words, “Thank you, boys.” And the tears just wouldn’t stop.

I didn’t expect to be this affected by his death. If you ask me who my favorite actor is, his would not be the name I’d mention. I think I kind of took him for granted already, because of movies like Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, Hook. Like he was always there. But the way he left is what’s hardest to process. When our idols go, of course we mourn. But I think we feel sorrier for ourselves, because we will never see or hear them again. But with Robin Williams, that sadness is doubled because you feel it for him more than for yourself.

I’ve even had some very deep conversations about suicide because of this. And I believe that depression is a real disease, and that when people take their own lives, they’re not themselves anymore. How can they be, when self-preservation is the deepest human instinct? I hold on to the belief that God knows this, that those who go this way find their peace. Because what other force can save them from their darkness?

O Captain! My Captain!

By Walt Whitman

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
                         But O heart! heart! heart!
                            O the bleeding drops of red,
                               Where on the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
                         Here Captain! dear father!
                            This arm beneath your head!
                               It is some dream that on the deck,
                                 You’ve fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
                         Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
                            But I with mournful tread,
                               Walk the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.