Had Robin Williams not committed suicide that fateful August day in 2014, he would have turned 67 years old on July 21.
So as you can imagine, this time of year is especially hard for the family he left behind, including his wife Susan Schneider, sons Zachary and Cody, and daughter Zelda.
This year, ahead of his birthday and the anniversary of his passing, Zelda is opening up about the pain and heartbreak she experiences as these dates approach.
The 28-year-old, who was born to Williams' second wife Marsha Garces Williams, recently posted a touching tribute honoring her later father and also spoke a little about how she copes.
“It’s that time of year again," Zelda wrote in the caption of an Instagram photo of her and Williams. "Everyone who has dealt with loss knows the pain of certain anniversaries, moments full of memory that come round like clockwork and usurp all others, no matter how hard you may try to prepare for or avoid them."
"These weeks are the hardest for me, and thus, you’ll see me a lot less, if at all," she told her social media followers. "For all the internet’s good intentions in expressing to me their fondness for dad, it’s very overwhelming to have strangers need me to know how much they cared for him right now. It’s harder still to be expected to reach back."
The actress explained that as strong as she is, right now she's only capable of giving only "one open armed response," before she takes her "yearly me time to celebrate his and my birthdays in peace."
She added, "Thank you for loving him. Thank you for supporting him and his life’s work. Thank you for missing him. I do too."
Knowing how much her father enjoyed helping others, especially the homeless, Zelda encouraged fans to celebrate his birthday in a very special way: by doing something good in his honor.
"If you’d like to do something in his honor, volunteer at your local homeless shelter, or look up how to make homeless aid backpacks. Give one in his name. He’d have loved that," Zelda continued.
Williams was an advocate for the homeless, and pushed for the Homeless Prevention and Revitalization Act to be passed in the early 90s.
The important debate isn’t about how many people are homeless, Robin said at the time. But rather, how to help those who are. We must provide comprehensive social services in order to help homeless people live dignified, productive lives.
Finally, she wrapped up her sentimental note by reminding everyone to "mostly, try to spread some laughter and kindness around. And creatively swear a lot. Every time you do, somewhere out there in our vast weird universe, he’s giggling with you… or giving a particularly fat bumblebee its wings. Happy early birthday, Poppo. Miss you every day, but especially these ones."
Zelda has previously talked about her struggle to come to terms with her loss. It took nearly a year after the Mrs. Doubtfire actor passed for her to be able to give an interview.
She told Today that she was "taking it one step at the time," and won't be questioning why Williams, who suffered from Lewy body dementia (LBD), took his life.
Zelda isn't the only one honoring Williams this year. HBO released a documentary titled Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind, which "celebrates what he brought to comedy and to the culture at large."
According to the synopsis, the film shows "previously unheard and unseen glimpses into his creative process through interviews with Williams, as well as home movies and onstage footage, this insightful tribute features in-depth interviews with those who knew and loved him."
In addition to Williams' fellow comedians and friends, his son Zachary also had some words to say about him.
"My father didn’t always feel he was succeeding, but he was the most successful person I know," the 35-year-old said in the trailer.
Zachary, affectionately known as Zak, has been following in his dad's philanthropic footsteps.
He teamed up with an inmate named Curtis "Wall Street" Carroll, who is serving a life sentence, to teach prisoners at the San Quentin State Penitentiary, in California, the value of financial literacy, and financial independence.
Zak and his team strongly believe that crime can be lowered by ensuring people are financially literate. The enrollment in the program has been so high that there's currently a waiting list. This is clearly a sign that what they've been teaching is working.
It been four years, but Williams' memory will always be live on for a very long time.
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