(L) Leonard Nimoy as Spock, 1966, for TV Guide (R) Leonard Nimoy in 2013, Original Photo by Therese Bohn
I know I could never improve on the words that thousands of others have written today as we mourn the passing of Mr. Nimoy, but I do want to share my own experience with you this sad day, and I send you all my deepest sympathy.
My first focus of this day, February 27, 2015, was remembering my darling Mother, Anna, who would have turned 95 today. (She passed in 2013) Of course, I was also thinking of Mr. Nimoy, whom many of us had been praying for this past week. This afternoon, while at my sister’s home, her son texted her a question, and she turned to me. “Therese, did Leonard Nimoy die?”
I blinked, my mind instantly thinking He’s gone. And I just said “I don’t know, can you check it?” My sister scanned her smartphone. She told me he had just died this morning. I sighed. We talked a little, put on the kettle and settled in for a good game of Scrabble.
It’s been several hours now yet surprisingly, I haven’t shed any tears; at least not yet, for I think it hasn’t really resonated yet. Or it could be that I’ve been expecting this day more ever since Mr. Nimoy revealed his COPD last year?
A lot of feelings are coursing through me. It’s a very sad day, of course, and like you, and anyone else reading this, I’m very sad. Sad for his wife and his children, grandchildren, and close friends. Sad for his surviving Trek friends and colleagues. Sad for the millions of his admirers around the world who loved him almost as much as one of their own. Sad that he ever took up smoking, and that he got so sick.
Yet there is so much to be thankful for today too. Thankful for all the joy that he brought to the world. Thankful that I got to see him and hear that lovely speaking voice in person twice! Thankful for the laugh, those eyes, and his wonderful presence. Thankful that he passed at home and not in a hospital. Thankful that he left a great legacy of creative talent acting, writing, directing, and photography behind him. And so thankful that he brought to life one of the coolest, most unforgettable and most enduring characters in American pop culture. And then there is a part of me that feels almost relief — relief that the poor man is out of pain and now is breathing free in the heavens, and back with his parents and his dear friend DeForest Kelley.
A lot of people felt a deep, deep affection for his character of Mr. Spock. I think it’s because Spock addressed the misfit in all of us; battling with both sides of his heritage as neither truly Vulcan or Human. How many of us as middle-schoolers identified with Spock because we looked different from the ‘regular kids’ or we weren’t the jocks or the cheerleaders but the awkward, geeky type? Spock served as a role model who said “Sure, I’m different, but I’m still valuable.” Spock also showed tolerance and compassion, two characteristics sadly lacking in many modern fictional characters.
Leonard Nimoy will be so terribly missed and yet so fondly remembered, for he was so loved all over the world. He truly squeezed out every bit of life left to him to enjoy what every day would bring. He never forgot why he became famous, and was grateful to all the fans who first appreciated his talent and all that came after. We will never forget him.
On a very personal note, the odd connection between this particular date, Mr. Nimoy, and my Mom brings me a sense of happiness too. How’s that? Well, when my Mom passed in 2013, I was quite devastated by her death and couldn’t imagine anything making me feel any better for quite a while. Only a few days into my mourning I received an e-mail from Symphony Space in NYC announcing that Mr. Nimoy would be there in person after a new performance of his play Vincent (with Jean-Michel Richaud). Seeing this suddenly lifted my spirits, and I was determined to go. A couple of my siblings wondered if it was right to travel 300 miles alone while my heart was still broken, but I knew I had to, and when I saw Mr. Nimoy right there in person, it filled me with a fan-girl glee that briefly erased my sorrow. I am even more thankful now that I decided to take the trip, and when Mr. Nimoy graciously let me get my picture taken with him, even though he was in a hurry, it just made me feel so alive again. So Grateful.
So when Mr. Nimoy passed on this particular day as I celebrate the memory of what would have been a milestone in my Mom’s life, I smile a little, for I’m sure she’d share some of her Heavenly birthday cake with him. :-)
By the way, my Mom liked Leonard too – not to the extent her teenage daughter did, but she thought he was a handsome, very good and caring actor. She also admired that he was a fellow Massachusetts resident (she was from Worchester). And remember the Scrabble game I mentioned earlier? When we were picking a letter tile each to see who’d go first, my letter — no kidding –was ‘L‘. Maybe it was Leonard saying hello? I smiled.
Goodnight, Sweet Vulcan. Your legacy will truly Live Long and Prosper.
For more wonderful links about Leonard Nimoy’s life, click here, here, here, and here.