A couple of weeks ago I was scrolling through the movies on TV and saw that Good Will Hunting was starting. It was one of those lazy Sunday afternoon, "why the heck not" decisions to settle into my couch and give it a watch. I had basically no recollection of the movie aside from the main actors that played in it. I was only in middle school when it came out.
As the film rolled on I could feel old flickers of memory sparking that hadn't ignited in my mind since I had first watched it 16 years earlier. The memories started popping into my mind and into place one kernel at a time. I had seen this movie in theaters with my mom. We had gone to lunch afterward and as was typical for us, we spent the time reflecting on what we'd seen and the thoughts that it stirred in us. I remember how mesmerized I was by the therapy space that was created by Sean, played by Robin Williams. I spilled with magical feelings to my mom about it. "I would love to do that," I told her. "I love the idea of creating a special room. This sliver of space in the world where people can come in and nobody will hurt them. They're free to be who they really are." I knew that space would be warm. A place where time could stand still for a little while. Where people could be suspended in authentic care and non-judgment as they tend to matters of the heart and soul.
I had somehow managed to store these thoughts and feelings into my unconscious where they remained percolating and forming me as a clinician before I even knew that was my ultimate calling. The movie ended and I was left with less of an "aha" moment and more of a "holy shit, I want to cry, how is it possible that this movie has impacted me so tremendously as a human being." I could feel myself getting emotional with S as I told him of this revelation; kind of like I feel now as I write these words. Robin, thank you for being such a critical part of my life. You've transformed my world without me even knowing it. I'm so devastated that your depression took your spark the way that it did. Depression can be like cancer to the soul and I'm broken by the reality that your battle ended in this way. I swear on my life that I'll keep fighting against that darkness in my work with all the love and kindness I can muster. You trained me well for that. My most tender feelings go out to you, your family, and the millions of others in this world that suffer emotionally.
Rest in sweet peace, Robin.