Monday, 2 March 2015

Leonard Nimoy: Goodbye My Childhood Hero

This morning I'm listening to Jerry Goldsmith's score for Wrath of Khan, surrounded by various Spock figures and Star Trek memorabilia I've collected over the years. Such is my love for Star Trek.


Like millions of Star Trek fans across the world, I was saddened by the death of Leonard Nimoy on Friday. It seems strange to say I'm mourning for someone I never met, but I am. He was a talented actor, director, poet, and photographer. He was also a caring and compassionate individual, becoming an honourary grandfather to all those who followed him on Twitter. He lived an incredible life and he lived it to the fullest. Just a few days before his death he posted this last tweet:

A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP.

Wise words indeed. Our lives are inexorably moving forward, each second never to be repeated. But what shapes and sustains us are our memories, all those past moments adding together to create the person you are and the life you lead today. 

I realised over the weekend I'm also mourning for myself. Spock and Star Trek have been such a major part of my life. As a young child, maybe eight or nine years of age, Star Trek was the first television show I begged to watch. It was so different from anything I'd seen before. Bright colours, starships, aliens, and strange new worlds. Thankfully, my parents gave in to my begging.

While I was fascinated by Kirk and the rest of the crew, and the underlying message of each episode, Spock was my first crush. Not in a sexual way. I'd just never encountered anyone like him before. He was different, and I liked different. Amok Time, where Spock is overcome by the emotions Vulcans work so hard to hide, is probably the episode I remember the clearest from childhood.

It's no coincidence I've had a life-long love for science fiction, and I believe that is soley down to watching Star Trek. While you might argue my genetics influence my choices, it is true that what we are most passionate about as a child stays with us through our entire life. My love for Star Trek and sci-fi has never diminished. 

I have to admit, I didn't have the same feelings of sadness when DeForest Kelley and James Doohan passed away. I think the explanation for this lies in my age. I turned 40 in 2012 and suddenly became much more aware of my mortality. Losing my father in 2013 made this doubly so. So, losing one of my key childhood influences reminds me again that life does end. Nothing remains the same forever.

While I understand the grief his family and friends are now experiencing, Nimoy was fortunate to live a long and happy life. He died in the natural order of things – before his children and grandchildren. He also advocated the notion that what you give to others will be given back many times over; that giving is receiving. So, I want to echo his thoughts. Plant those seeds and make many, many amazing and happy memories. 

Live long and prosper, my friends.

29 comments:

  1. I became aware of ST when it was first run. Like you, I fell in love with the concept of the series and the characters in particular. Spock was my favorite too. To quote him, he was fascinating.

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    1. Liking Star Trek is logical. I'm sure Spock would agree!

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  2. I've also been a die-hard fan since I was a little kid. My inner geek cried when I heard the news. Spock was such an iconic character.

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    1. Ditto, Alex. I sobbed when Spock died in The Wrath of Khan, and that was fictional.

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  3. Nice tribute! I always liked Spock, too, and even more so, Nimoy. He was so articulate and kind. While Shatner is a little goofy and cartoonish and I can appreciate that, Nimoy was sincere and thoughtful. A really great man.

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    1. Thank you, Hart. Shatner as Kirk had great qualities, just different to Spock. William Shatner does make me laugh, which I like.

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  4. Nice tribute... I must say LLAP. You know he is waiting for someone to find the Genesis planet, waiting for someone to find him.

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    1. What a lovely idea, Jeremy. Let's hope he really has found the final frontier.

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  5. Yes, his last tweet was rather profound, as were many of his sayings. Love your memorabilia. And Nimoy is floating around still.

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    1. Thank you, Catherine. Spock is so iconic, and Nimoy's contributions to film and art too great, for them both to be forgotten.

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  6. What a nice tribute...very well written.

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  7. He lived a good life and left a legacy that will last many more generations.

    It's wonderful to see so much love and support for a man who influenced the lives of many of us. I hope it makes him smile.

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    1. I agree, Maria. It was touching to see the tens of thousands of messages on social media over the weekend.

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  8. He's mourned by so many. It's wonderful that he touched so many people. LLAP *raises hand and separates three fingers from the other two*

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    1. You know I've never been able to do that. Sighs.

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  9. Like you, Spock, was my favorite character in the show and the movies made later. And I loved his appearances in the recent remakes also. He will be missed by all of us who longed to be one of those explorers of the final frontier.

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    1. Your last sentence says it all. How many of us wished we were part of that five year journey?

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  10. A nice tribute, I was grown up when Star Trek appeared on TV and already hooked on SF. I was immediately a fan and followed it through its various incarnations. Spock was such an important character, I doubt that Gene Roddenberry realised quite what he had done by creating the character who stayed with the series on and off, being lost, resurected and finally returned through time to help reboot the series.. RIP Leonard Nimoy

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    1. A wonderful tribute, Snafu. I think you are right - Roddenberry probably didn't realise what he had created in Spock and Star Trek.

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  11. I think that is all one can ask for in life, and death. To positively influence others, live to your fullest potential, have not regrets (or at least very few) at the end. Perhaps he is now floating among the stars, becoming the stuff of the universe. That is how I hope to spend the afterlife.

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    1. We are all made of stardust, as my other great hero Carl Sagan once said. I agree about hoping for two things when I reach the end of my life - that I gave to others and lived my life to the fullest.

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  12. What a lovely tribute. I was so sad when I heard about his passing. He was my first favorite ST character too.

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  13. In the first year of the series, Leonard Nimoy received about twice the fan mail as William Shatner. So they paired the two together to increase Shatner's popularity. That's why you see the ridiculous scenarios of the captain and the first officer going into dangerous situations together.

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    1. I did wonder about that, Mark. It's crazy to send the two most senior officials on missions together.

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  14. Hi Ellie - a great post .. I thought of you when I heard of his passing. You've made some wise comments in your post ... life does go on, and we need to plant those seeds ... good luck with all - cheers Hilary

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