There is a point to remembering. “We live our lives twice – once when it happens, and the second time in our memory.” (Honoré de Balzac) Wise words. If we want to have good memories, we better create *good* memorable moments – to last us through the times when we need to be reminded of the good in life. Unfortunately not all memories are unreservedly positive. Many of you know that these days hold a special significance for me. And as the year closed on my dad’s death, I relived some of the moments that have been imprinted in my memory forever.
I remember waking up at 1 am in the morning on June 25th 2014, woken by the faint ringing of the landline phone, *knowing* what it meant and *refusing* to get up and answer because I did not *want to* face the bad news. I remember the second call, this time on the mobile phone, and my mother “waking me” to drive her to the hospital where my father’s health was rapidly deteriorating. I remember driving on empty streets through the night, and arriving at the ICU, asking to be let in and being told to wait because the nurses were “tidying up”. We were too late, he had already gone. I remember huddling up to my mother, in search of strength and reassurance, and I remember walking into the room, where my dad lay in the hospital bed, all machines thankfully removed. I remember sitting down by his side, and I can hear myself saying with tear-thickened voice “Ach Papa…”, hot tears streaming down my cheeks. I remember talking to him in my head, saying good-bye, thanking him for all he ever did for me, for his kindness, his humour, his unconditional love, the protection and security he provided, the ideas he instilled in me, the interests and hobbies he passed on to me, the skills he taught me. And I remember touching and holding his arm – which was still warm, even though he was dead.
Looking back now, I wish I could’ve had one more embrace from him. One more smile, one more fond “Na, alte Salatschnecke” (hello, old lettuce snail – his nickname for me). As it is, there are countless such embraces, smiles and proofs of his fondness and love… only good memories to relive. And there are many more good memories that were created *for* me by all of you who reached out to me during those difficult days – e-mails, cards, and comments – and who donated money to my dad’s historical society and to RA’s JustGiving pages in my – and my dad’s – name. I have and still do appreciate this deeply. It is proof for me that mankind is inherently *good*, not evil, and that memory is there to remind us of what is good, when times are difficult. I may be singing in the deep dark wood, naively keeping the monsters at bay, I may be incorrigibly optimistic, and I know that I can only talk about the portion of the fandom that I actively know, but I still believe in what I wrote on this day, last year:
“I think that there is a correlation between the man and the “well-wishers” he has inspired to get together. I *think* he is a nice, considerate, decent man, but I *know* you are a wonderfully kind-hearted, generous and compassionate group of people. You deserve each other. I really, really wish he’d know that there is a different dimension to our collective well-wishing than the mere extolling of his talent, character and physical assets. That there is tangible friendship, exchange of ideas, mutual support in matters that are not even related to “himself”…”
I like to remember ↑this↑ when I feel down – about this time of year and what it means for me, or about this fandom and what it means for me. It is a good memory that was created by you, for me, and it will forever be with me. It’s worth remembering.
And now let’s celebrate. Let’s celebrate life, and celebrate *with* Mr A that he was acknowledged with a Saturn Award last night in LA –
Congratulations, Richard! While it grated very slightly with me that you were nominated in a category for a role that for me was so much more than a supporting role, in fact a stand-out character in BOTFA, it is wonderful that there is some belated recognition for the fabulous work you did on The Hobbit trilogy. It is well-worth remembering that. And even if I occasionally disagree with what you say or do (I don’t think I will ever get on board with those selfies…), I do remember that there is someone behind the role, behind the twitter-handle, and under that funky red flower crown. Sleep tight and sleep easy, Richard – you are creating good memories for me.
Images via @DeLaurentiisCo