How Robin Williams' watchful eyes may help heal us

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- When we speak to others, we often look at their faces. We notice their lipstick color or their glasses. We notice the way they have styled their hair, or a new way they're wearing it.

What we don't often notice are the little wrinkles jutting out from the sides of their eyelids; the miles they indicate, and the pain and joy they have experienced. We look beyond laugh lines and under-eye bags, which are signals that the person we're talking to, watching or looking at is a human being.

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On Market Street in San Francisco, we look past some heavy things. We see men and women shooting up. We see hungry dogs panting by the sides of their homeless owners. We see garbage and cigarette cartons flattened by hungry tires pounding the streets. We see men and women who stare down at thousand-dollar iPhones while the jingle of cups with spare change calls linger in the background.

Market Street is a microcosm of things that San Francisco can improve on, can let go of and can learn from. It's the perfect place for a pair of watchful eyes.

Andres Iglesias, also known in the art world as "Cobre," breathed life into Williams' eyes with many strokes of a paint brush, and splash of heart.

Robin Williams is a Bay Area legend. He became a hero here. He had love for this place. He made films here. He supported local artists, and gave back to those who helped him rise to international comedic glory.

But underneath his happy face, jolly exterior and reputation as a care-free, funny and kind individual was a battle - a war. The wax-like persona of a court jester in a suit and tie melted away after we learned of his death.

The battle was addiction. The war was depression. And this mural, erected on Market Street, in the heart of a city that is struggling with those same things, shows the real Robin Williams.

He had wrinkles. He had pain. He had wit. He had an unforgettable glamour in his eye that often made us laugh, cry and think about our own hardships.

When you pass it, look directly into the eyes and see what you feel. It's not going to be a glossy feeling of a comedian gone too soon. It's going to be pain, and maybe even hope that someday we can come together and judge people for their resilience, rather than their downfalls.

And like the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleberg watched over F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jay Gatsby and his Daisy, Robin Williams' eyes can watch over Market Street, our valley of ashes - reminding us that not all is lost.

The vibrant life and personality of Robin Williams can never be replaced or replicated. But this mural erected in San Francisco on Market Street comes close to capturing the essence of an unforgettable comedic mind and all-around inspirational figure.

A figure that wasn't perfect, but was real.

For more on the life, times, and legacy of Robin Williams, visit this page.
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