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Martin, I will miss you.

On Saturday, May 22nd, I found out that Martin Gardner had passed away.  I was devastated.  My heart broke.  My friendship with Martin is one of the greatest treasures of my life.  I couldn’t believe that I was no longer going to be able to call him up when I wanted to talk or to plan my “pilgrimage” to visit with him as I’ve done each year.

I can’t properly write a tribute to him right now.  It hurts too much.  However one thing I can share is that it’s amazing how life happens sometimes.  I was in NYC on May 22.  I was on a trip of a lifetime with some of my closest girlfriends.  I found out this devastating news surrounded by comforting friends.   And then the next day on Sunday, I visited Central Park.  In Central Park there is a famous statue of Alice in Wonderland.  Martin had in his home a wonderful photo of himself sitting on this statue.  Martin loved the stories of Alice in Wonderland and one of his most well known books is called The Annotated Alice.  In this book Martin explains the mathematical concepts, wordplay, and Victorian traditions featured in the two Alice books.  It was so nice to spend time at this statue and think of Martin.

And then later on that same day, my friends and I had planned to see the Broadway Musical Wicked.  Funny that we planned this way in advance of our trip  because this musical is based on the story of Wizard of Oz.  This was another of Martin’s favourite stories.  Martin had written an unofficial sequel to the Wizard of Oz called Visitors from Oz: The Wild Adventures of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tin WoodmanIn this story the Oz characters meet the Alice characters!  At the end of the musical, the two main characters (the two witches) sing to each other a song called For Good.  I sat there (thankfully in the dark) and thought of Martin.  You can click on the song title to hear the song or here are some of the lyrics that meant a lot to me:

I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you…

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You’ll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend…

So I felt so blessed to be in NYC at the time I heard of Martin’s death.  A place where I could think of my friend, be sad, be thankful and be present with his memory.  I was also thankful that I could pick up a copy of the NY Times on the Monday we left as there was a nice tribute to Martin printed.  I’ve since read many tributes to Martin on the internet.  I knew that he had touched many lives and had inspired so many with the work he had done.  For me, I will miss our conversations and our visits.  I will miss my friend - the most giving, kind, and gentle man.  I received an email from Martin’s son, Jim, last week and he said that he knew me because his dad had talked to him about me.  That meant the world to me.  And so, my heart begins to mend.  Martin – I miss you and I thank you for being my friend.

Martin and I December 2009

3 comments to Martin, I will miss you.

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