It was just after midnight on a Tuesday. I had been out at our local bar, drinking good beers, talking about the eccentricities of life with my beautiful husband and our favorite bartender.
Then, when I slipped into my jammies at home, I found out about a third tragedy—after Robin Williams, after Lauren freaking Bacall. Another great loss to mankind.
Dammit, I lost it. I finally, finally cried because I couldn’t do anything else. I should have gone to bed. I needed to get up for work the next morning.
But suddenly I was charged with emotional energy to write this little piece. My mediocre tribute to these great people.
I made myself some tea, put my headphones on, and started writing. Shit, this is epic for me. To lose all of these gorgeous souls within a week…brace yourselves.
Robin Williams – Monday, August 11, 2014
Lauren Bacall – Tuesday, August 12, 2014
B.K.S. Iyengar – Tuesday, August 19, 2014
I sobered up enough to write this post. I promise it will not be my most eloquent work, but I felt compelled to write something. How could I not?
I avoided the Robin Williams tribute because I was floored when I heard the news, and I knew I couldn’t do a magical man like him any sort of justice. I grew up with him, as this sort of distant uncle who seemed to know everything I didn’t.
He portrayed the mysteries of life through acting with a dedication and grace that I have never seen before—Dead Poets Society, What Dreams May Come, The Birdcage—these are films that genuinely capture the human spirit.
They are brilliant, and Robin was a key player in that brilliance.
I had just returned from a romantic weekend in Seattle with Mr. H and I felt peaceful, loved, and hopeful. Then, the next day at work, a coworker of mine came dashing over with the news. Robin was gone.
I didn’t believe her. How could he?
My first boyfriend (and my first kiss) killed himself during my Sophomore year in high school. Right on the baseball field…a bullet to his lovely head. Suicide is not something I take lightly. I’ve known those who have threatened loneliness and I’ve known those who have acted on true alienation from that which we call the “norm”.
It’s scary. It’s heart-wrenching, It’s out there.
I wish it wasn’t, believe me. If I could figure out a way to absorb this from anyone…I would.
Right after one of my film heroes—Mr. Robin Williams—Bacall followed a day later. The pretty songbird that I had known for so long had left my window. She was gone and it was so eerily quiet.
Bacall was, quite simply…beauty. She was an effortless woman, with her infamous voice and come-hither appeal. Beyond the exterior, Bacall’s acting was top-drawer—always provocative, smart, and moving.
I’ve been a classic films aficionado for a good decade now. I respect Grace Kelly, I adore Audrey Hepburn, and I caved in to the charms of Marilyn Monroe.
But, Bacall. Just listen and watch. She was a force, a damn gorgeous force.
Where do I begin? Iyengar came to me much later when I was pursuing my Yoga teacher certification a year ago. I know what you’re thinking…big whoop. “Light on Life” by Iyengar is typically a required book.
Honestly, I didn’t want to read it. I certainly didn’t think I would like it.
On the cover was this man with bright white hair and matching eyebrows, smiling in a red robe, seemingly important and happy. Because he was important. Because he was happy.
He was Iyengar, the man who brought Yoga to those of us who truly needed it most…those of us in the West.
Last October I wrote a post called “I Am Still Learning”, which was inspired by Iyengar’s humble wisdom. I was a lost adult in so many ways until I found Yoga, until I connected with this man from another part of the world, a man who didn’t know I existed but didn’t care.
In some weird way, he was there for me when I needed him.
I’m not a religious person, but I am deeply spiritual. My faith belongs solely to the exquisiteness of mankind. Iyengar provided a connection to this realization and I will forever be grateful for that.
Williams, Bacall, and Iyengar left us. I can’t explain it, but I felt a strong kinship with all three of these incredible humans and I must say this…
Robin…thank you for your amusement, your intelligence, your cool.
Lauren…thank you for your loveliness, your emotion, your grace.
Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja (B.K.S.)…thank you for your influence, your spirit, your love.
If I had it my way, things would be so different. But there will not be an official holiday for any of these magnanimous souls. And so we will all go our separate ways—some will mourn, some won’t feel a thing.
I will forever know that these strangers did something special…and that they meant something very special to me.