Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tim Russert

I'll miss Tim Russert. He always struck me as a man of integrity, and I was touched by the loving sense of family which seemed to bond him so closely with both his father and his son. I was also drawn by his passion for his work. You can't fake that twinkle in the eye with which he greeted every new surprise. As an interviewer, he seemed fair, thorough, probing, and genuinely interested in what his subject had to say. When he sensed evasion, he knew how to push further with polite insistence. I learned a lot from watching and listening to him, and I'll miss his ability to put political matters into a sane perspective.

There's a life lesson for all of us, of course, in the shocking suddenness of his death. Readers of The Buddha Diaries may recall that one of my own great difficulties in contemplating the end of my life is not knowing the end of the story. What a great irony, in this light, that Russert died without being allowed to know the end of the greatest story of his professional life, in which he was so passionately engaged. He must have been looking forward with enormous excitement to the party conventions, the campaign in the fall, and the night of the November presidential election. All this was snatched from him by the intrusion of an event so unanticipated that it shocked an entire nation. It's a sad reminder of the fragility of life and the unpredictability of its conclusion.


John Torcello said...

Having been born and raised in a small city located just outside Buffalo, NY, educated from grade school on in a Jesuit-inspired curriculum, watching as we grew up the eroding economy of a once proud and prosperous locale, sharing in a loving family and community environment not unlike Russert's and growing up in relatively the same time space together...even though I didn't know Russert, the commonality of our experience is remarkable; there is definitely a void in my heart hearing of his sudden passing.

I agree with you Peter...the 'not knowing' nature of his time is interesting to contemplate for ourselves; particularly, as I compare and contrast Russert's experience of death with another friend's recent passing who did know - more or less - as he suffered the growth and effects of prostate cancer.

The verdict is out for me...if, as reports indicate, Russert lived the positive life reported by so many...then, his passing in this way is probably one of those 'go when you're on top' happenings; but still very sad for his wife, son and family...whereas, my other friend, with his 'knowing', had to battle the acceptance of his constant reminding, certain fate - often trying to overcome his disappointment and rising anger - working in his final days to replace it with optimizing the experience of his remaining days of life and living with his wife and family...

The mystery of life; and such polar opposite means to the same ends...?!

robin andrea said...

We lost a dear friend like this a few years ago. The suddenness of such a thing is breathtaking.