Monday, March 2, 2015

Goodbye, Leonard.

On February 27th, we lost a friend. And, although I had been preparing myself for it over the last few years, it hurt worse than I thought it would.

(Click on images to view full-size. Once open, you may have to click again to magnify.)

I was on the road going to a dental cleaning appointment when my wife texted me: "Spock just died." Those three words hit me hard, and I immediately pulled over and checked online to confirm the news; hoping that it was a false rumor she had heard. It only took a moment to find out, as word spread rapidly, that Leonard had indeed passed over to the Undiscovered Country after being admitted to the hospital several days earlier for chest pains. A few moments later an old friend and fellow Trekker called and when I picked it up I said "I just heard." We spent a few moments sharing how we felt and the impact that Mr. Nimoy had on our lives.

I'm sure the same thing happened around the country as friends called other fellow fans and commiserated over the news. The bond between Trek fans has always been strong, as over the years we shared our love for the show with others like us, and when we found another of like mind, we connected to them in some fashion; at least I did. We were linked by that shared love of a bright universe where people of all races and creeds lived in harmony and acceptance, and by our love for the characters that inhabited one corner of that universe known as the Enterprise. The extended family we found there was more than just a bunch of crew members; we loved them all. Zooming in on the core of the family, we focused on the Big Three of Kirk, Spock and McCoy. Then, when the final image came into view, it was of one person; Spock. He was the one that people remember most when recalling their first exposure to the show. The first thing I ever clipped about the show from a magazine was a photo of Leonard as Spock, which I still have in my first scrapbook. This is most encapsulated by the first time Spock appeared on film in the Trek universe; we saw the ship, then came closer, and as the saucer dipped, we moved through the dome onto the bridge. And moving down beside Captain Pike, there was the one your eyes were instantly drawn to... Spock.

What Spock meant to each one of us individually is something we can only weigh within our own hearts; but to me the main attraction to the character --beyond all the great things about the Vulcan that were exciting and different-- was that in his isolation and loneliness, he reached out and made a friend; Kirk. The friendship between the two was the heart of the show, and further, the friendship and affection that the rest of the bridge crew felt for Spock demonstrated the depth of feeling that could be inspired by one that claimed to have none. All of that is summed up in one affecting image, happening at the very end of "The Search For Spock." I freely admit that when watching the movie I bawled at that moment (and still do, every time), even more than at his funeral scene in the previous film. Whereas that was about the loss, this moment was about the joy of their love for him. And that's something we all felt. I hope that beyond the sadness we feel at Leonard's passing, we can remember and rekindle the joy of that love we felt both for him and for the character that he helped create and bring to life. Click on that image below to enlarge it and see if it doesn't just make you feel good.

Over the weekend as news of Leonard's passing spread, a post that featured an article entitled "Spock: Teenage Outcast" that I had posted in the past went viral for the second time, and we had over 12,000 visitors to this blog. I like to think that the letter he wrote to a young fan struggling with a dual heritage would make a fitting memorial to the man, speaking of his insight, compassion and thoughtfulness. You can read that article below, or visit the original post that also contains many visitor comments about it:

Another older article that highlights the professionalism that Leonard brought to the role, and the price he almost paid to be true to the character, can be found here.

If you have some time and want to reflect on Leonard's media exposure over the years that I have collected, here is a link that collects all the blog posts I have made with the "Nimoy" tag.

Of course, in one way, my wife was wrong when she said "Spock just died." The character of Spock is still as alive as ever, and for as long as we can see him on the episodes and movies, and read about him in our books, he is alive. Leonard Nimoy, the caring and compassionate soul behind the stoic visage, is with us no more. But he will not be forgotten.



ProvidenceMine said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful tribute of Leonard Nimoy and his Spock. I think you've about captured my feelings about Spock and the man who played him. I was always taken by how classy, spiritual and genuine Leonard seemed to be. I love the picture from The Search for Spock and am breaking down as I type this. I know that he was 83 when he died, and he lived a good long and 'prosperous' life--but it's still a large hole that will never be filled. Sorry, but at the risk of being inappropriate here, Zac Quinto is just not Spock for me, even though Nimoy gave him his blessing and I respect that. Todd Haberkorn, though, renders Nimoy's Spock beautifully and is definitely worth the price of admission. However, Leonard Nimoy, was, and always will be, the one and only.

Thank you for this lovely tribute.

Take care.

Joe Bardales said...

This was a beautifully written tribute to a great man.

My first exposure to Star Trek was the animated cartoon series that aired Saturday mornings when I was six years old, and I was instantly drawn to the character of Mr. Spock. Shortly after, I discovered the original series in reruns on WPIX New York, and a lifelong fandom began. Growing up, I don't think any fictional character captured my imagination more than Mr. Spock. I have a very heavy heart since learning of Mr. Nimoy's passing. RIP, Leonard Nimoy. Live long and prosper.

Lisa said...

A lovely tribute to our favorite and original Vulcan. It's almost in the ensuing days since his passing that the loss seems immeasurable. The only consolation is that there are so many of feeling bad at the same time and for the same reason. Such a beautiful impact he had on so many!

Truly the end of a mortal man but the beginning of a true legend.

Thanks again for this beautiful post.

Lisa said...

Thanks also very much for the link to all your Nimoy articles. The more I go over all this material the more I feel the loss...sigh.

Frederick said...

I know what you mean, the more days go by the more unreal it seems, and the loss is settling in.

Spacerguy said...

Leonard joked at a convention once calling fans his adopted grand children which made so many of us happy. He was so thoughtful and kind like that.

Jeremy Hawkins said...

Wonderful words and post... he will be missed and many will consider him part of the bigger family.


John Tenuto said...

Frederick, this is a wonderful and emotional tribute. Thank you for your words and all you do at your site!

Jackie said...

A long time after your beautiful tribute, I can comment now, and say thank you. I'm still grieving.

Frederick said...

As am I. I think about it every day!