Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Too late

Last night I rambled on about how I wrote "Everybody Knows About Me" after reading about the life of Joseph D. Greene. I told that story because it's a good story, but also because I wanted to thank him. He never knew that his book had influenced me in any way. I figured I'd drop him a line and give him the link.

I'd thought about doing something like this for years. I didn't before because I wanted to have something impressive to show him. Writing the song didn't seem like enough. Recording the song and releasing it during ME/CFS Awareness Week didn't seem like enough. Once the ME/CFS video featuring the song went live, though, I decided it was time.

You know where this is going, right? Yeah. In the search for his contact info, I found out that he'd died over two years ago.

Here's the obit.

I was stupid. All my reasons for waiting were stupid. I know as well as anybody that when you create something, anything, what you want to hear most is that it connected with somebody. He wouldn't have shrugged off the acknowledgment because I hadn't accomplished enough yet.

Next time I need to thank someone for nudging my life in a better direction, remind me not to wait.


Jill Justiss said...

I am so sorry for your loss Cynderkeys.

cinderkeys said...

Thanks, Jill. I only ever knew the guy as a client, and we didn't talk that much, so it didn't hit me in the same way as it would if a good friend died. Still, he was a genuinely good person who made the world a better place, and I wish I'd let him know how he'd inspired me.

John Wenger said...

About ten years ago, a woman with the same last name as I called me up out of the blue to see if we were related (Wenger is not a common name). Well, we weren't. When I asked her how she got my name, she told me she had called in a pledge to public radio, and the pledge taker asked her if she were related to me; I had been his teacher, and he told her I had changed his life through the course I taught.

"Really?" I said. "What's his name?" She didn't know, so I asked her to call the station and find out, which she did.

I didn't recognize the name, so I searched through my records, narrowing the search to calculus or higher, since I figured that changing someone's life probably involved an advanced course, and I found his name from a calculus course ten years before, but I still had no recollection of him. Who was he? How had I been important to him? Had I instilled in him a love of mathematics? Had I changed his career? How many others like him were there? I am certainly aware of those whose bad grades from me had adversely effected them.

Now I tell everybody who had someone important to them to tell that person. The sooner, the better.

Jannie Funster said...


I'll be so sad when I hear Leonard Cohen has gone, or Bob Dylan, or any of my faves, without me having written songs about them for them to hear.

You did a good thing wirting that song..

Everything unfolds for reasons we cannot always understand. Joseph knows. He knows how you inspired him. The Universe makes sure of that, I firmly believe.


cinderkeys said...

Dad: I forget if I'd heard that story already, but it's a good one.

Jannie: This is yet another reason I sometimes wish I held these kinds of spiritual beliefs. I'd like to think he knows.