Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert, Dead at 58 - the End of an Era

I don't often tear up at the death of a public figure. Not even at their untimely death. Public figures are larger than life, and when they die, their largess continues to fuel the lives they left behind.

A few years back, I learned of a co-worker's death several days after it occurred. He was on a job site in Ireland and collapsed and died of a sudden massive heart attack. He had been a good friend in what were hard times for me. And my daughter, Brandy, loved him dearly. So when I learned, in an almost casual fashion, that he had died, I was stunned and hurt, and I came very close to tears in a public forum.

The announcement today of Tim Russert's death (as I learned of it while at work listening on headphones to Randi Rhodes) elicited a similar response from me. I'm not sure why. I didn't know Tim. My daughter wasn't his buddy. But it somehow felt the same way.

And it's not just because Tim was a recurrent guest in our living room, on our television. There are many such guests (though mostly they are of the serious sort - more or less - not frivolous celebrities).

Maybe it's because on Sunday mornings, Bonnie watches Meet the Press almost religiously (rather than attending a church service), and I (like the prodigal husband amid the church-going), occasionally sit in as well, and watch and listen to Tim as he serves up his brand of confession.

Maybe that's why I equate his loss with my friend's. Or maybe it's that both were Irish Catholic, and I the great atheist, still find an affinity with Irish Catholics. Don't ask me why.

I will miss you Tim. Bonnie will miss you as well. And to my modest surprise, Brandy knew you too, and she will also miss you.


Beth said...

I rolled in about 1:30AM and my phone was ringing. My good friend Chow who I had just dropped off at her home was calling me to make sure I got home ok - and then she told me Tim Russert had died. I told her she was full of crap and she told me to turn on the TV. I was absolutely stunned. I don't know why I was so touched by the news. I don't know him personally - BUT like so many others I have spent every Sunday morning for most of my adult life with him. I have my Tivo set to record MTP in the event that I sleep late. It occured to me that I didn't know much about him as a person so I spent most of the day today watching the special programing on MSNBC. The more I learned about him, the sadder I became. He was really a very remarkable yet very ordinary man. Very loved and admired. We should all be so blessed. I will miss him as well and feel a profound sense of sadness that the bright light that was Tim Russert --- is no more.

Yar said...

Odd, isn't it? That sense of familiarity?