By: Derek Hobson

“To die would be a grand adventure,” says Peter Banning (Pan) to Hook after rediscovering who he is and why he chose to grow up – to be a father.

I may be a late bloomer when it comes to Robin Williams, but I will always know him as Peter Banning aka Pan in Steven Spielberg’s 1991 classic, Hook. The boy who never wanted to grow up, grew up into a pirate. Only upon returning to Neverland does he rediscover who he is…

While Neverland may be depicted in Disney properties as a place you can come and go from, J.M. Barrie always intended for it to represent death (as I’ve said before).

The beauty in this is that J.M. Barrie took the tragic passing of his older brother and transformed it into something uplifting. He provided a life after death in Neverland, and turned it into a grand adventure. I’m of the belief that we shouldn’t mourn Williams’ passing, but we should celebrate our memories of him as he moves on to a new adventure.

When a celebrity dies there’s usually two groups of people: those that mourn and those that say we’re a culture too obsessed with celebrities.

No, I didn’t know Robin Williams personally, nor did see him once in an airport or even write him a letter. But when I think of famous people, I think of those like Audrey Hepburn, an actress who dedicated her later life to UNICEF; I think of Bruce Lee who was as much a poet, philosopher and teacher as he was a movie star; and I think of those like Robin Williams who inspired hope, laughter and love.

My family and I don’t always get along, but if there was a Robin Williams film out or his standup available on CD (for a long car ride), there was always unanimity. His films weren’t always great, but it didn’t matter. For us, Williams represents a staple or a rare adhesive that allows our dysfunctional family to actually get along. And even though we range from liberals to conservatives, Robin Williams is one of the few people we all agree positively on.

When Death Doesn’t Need to be Sad

The news stories and reports imply that Williams’ death was a suicide after a longstanding battle with depression. For a man, loved by many, to take his own life is irrefutably a tragedy.

There is not a piece of me that does not mourn his passing… but how do you actively mourn rather than be consumed by it? Embrace it.

Mourning the death of an icon who died of depression perpetuates the problem. So how do we celebrate what he brought us?

“To die would be a grand adventure.”

Death can be transformative; Death changes things; Death may not be an ending.

And that’s why I think it’s equally important to talk about when it comes to the Concierge Care Advisors, because so many elders fear death. For many of the families, our advisors are the first to bring up the subject of death and some seniors don’t even want to move into a senior living home because they think it will put them closer to death. But that’s the point. Face it, embrace it, and enjoy it, because what’s to come is an awfully big adventure.