“A poem is the very image of life expressed in its eternal truth.”
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Monday, March 4, 2013

In Memoriam - George, The Greek from Detroit

I weep as I write.
George has died after fighting
his cruel battle.

Courage and resolve
marked Greek’s approach to MS.
Then mercy failed him.

I say this to George:
a warrior never dies;
only, his battles.


Karen said...

Oh Judy, I am always so sad to hear of someone's passing. Even more so when that passing has been a result of, or complications from MS. I did not know "Greek", but I know the pain. Whan my (MS) blogger friend, Michael passed away I was devasted. I am not a religious person, yet I hope that this corageous person has been welcomed, and will find peace in the "other world", wherever that may be. I'm sorry for your loss.

The Wheelchair Kamikaze said...

A lovely tribute to my good friend George, The Greek From Detroit. I will miss him always.

Gail said...

HI JUDY - Oh I am truly sorry - such loss, an untimely death - MS at the root - tragic. I will pray for George and his family and you, his friend.
Love and hope for us all

Josè Antonio said...

Never died, always in our hearts.

Muffie said...

Such sadness. Thank you, Judy, for the beautiful poetic homage.

Mary Gerdt said...

So sorry for your loss. He sounds like quite a guy. Thinking of you and all who loved him, mary

nicole said...

Wow! So sad. Thanks for introducing me to him.

Anonymous said...

judy, this is georgies sister. thank you on behalf of my family for your tribute to him. so beautiful and so comforting. God Bless you.

Judy at Peace Be With You said...

In his eulogy to George on his Wheelchair Kamikaze blog, Marc writes, “The burdens and constraints imposed by the miserable beast called multiple sclerosis simply became too much for George to bear, and he exited this life on his own terms. The farewell note he left on his blog, though quite forthcoming, only hints at the anguish he suffered. The disease and its wicked gravity robbed him of all he held dear, leaving him bereft of joy, a man whose sense of self was too enmeshed with his physicality to submit to an existence spent bedridden. The ravages of multiple sclerosis broke his tremendous heart and shattered his beneficent spirit. His decline was precipitous, a cruel freefall that proved impossible to break.”

I don’t know which is the greater horror, that George had to live through five unspeakable years of relentlessly cruel deterioration or that, already in a weakened state, he had to confront the MonSter which had overtaken his life. Then, there is the third horror, that someone so good should have to suffer through something so undeserved. Yes, we are not the first to ask why terrible things happen to good people. Job and Ecclesiastes were asking precisely that in the Bible. And I think of the blog entry George himself wrote on August 19, 2012:

“Why was I so tried? … I struggled with my faith. … I am in complete and utter belief that there is a larger picture, but all the suffering that people experience. Is it really necessary? Really? Do many of us need to have the living shit kicked out of us, literally, in order to become better people and get closer to our maker? Again I struggle. … Again I struggle ... But I feel essential that I believe … Nor can I afford not to … .”

George was asking in essence, what is the meaning of life? I don’t know that he ever found an answer or, indeed, that anyone can. In the end, George chose the path of reducing his suffering and holding on to the only shred of dignity left him. In doing that, he was a warrior to the end. I trust that he is in a better place now, free of pain and hardship. I hope so!

To my commenters:

First of all, I want to profoundly thank George’s sister, Andrea, for her words. I am so grateful that I could bring some comfort and beauty to George’s family in a time like this. I can barely imagine their pain and hope they find solace somehow.

Karen, it is amazing how one can be so deeply affected by friends one has met in the blogging world. And Greek was someone I treasured. My first reaction upon reading his parting words was to sob.

Marc, your eulogy is all that one could ever hope to hear about a dear person. Thank you for honoring George by reading his poem.

Gail, untimely, yes, but saving him from a cruelty that had him spiraling down in a cruel fashion.

Josè Antonio, yes, always in our hearts.

Muff, the sadness is so deep on so many levels. This was MS cruelty at its worst.

Mary, he really was quite a guy.

Nicole, yes, incredibly sad.

The link to George’s quote above is:

Marc has written a moving and powerful eulogy for Greek on his website. The link is: http://www.wheelchairkamikaze.com/2013/03/the-greek-in-memoriam.html?showComment=1362639386531#c6016936049645259468

Anonymous said...

I came to this site as a result of Marc's recent blog on George. By all I've read, George sounds like someone I wish I had known. I am sure George has brought me to this site, to these people, lovely stories and poems and comments from others with ms who sometimes feel they are slowly being "erased." Peace to you George and to all who loved him. Connie

Judy at Peace Be With You said...

Connie, thanks for paying a visit. I knew George through his blog where, as I have said elsewhere, his goodness wafted off the page. It was a privilege to have known him, and I am sorry he had to suffer so much.

Anonymous said...

What you said to Karen -
"it is amazing how one can be so deeply affected by friends one has met in the blogging world."
Boy, ain't that the truth!
Even tho I don't "know" any of you - I feel like I know you all just by reading your blogs.
Thanks for making this journey a little less lonely.

Judy at Peace Be With You said...

Dee, yes, we make the journey less lonely for all of us. I cannot imagine anymore making the journey without the amazing circle of friends who have gathered to weather this storm.Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

It has been almost three weeks since George broke these earthly bonds. I loved your poem. He would have loved it. He suffered much, and MS took almost all of him in so many ways. In his final moments, he smiled and was the beautiful man that I so loved. Thanks to all of you for understanding the profoundness of his struggle and his resolution.
Hilda...honored to have been his Mom.

Judy at Peace Be With You said...

Oh my goodness, Hilda, I am so honored and moved that you have connected with my poem. Speaking for my readers, we are also incredibly honored by your expression of gratitude. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain and loss you are feeling. George is someone who, for whatever reason, I connected deeply with on a soul level and whose final days I continue to think about. I hope, wherever he is, he has the opportunity to be his good and kind and beautiful self again. You raised a beautiful son. My deepest condolences.

Have Myelin? said...

I wish I had known of him. I am aware of his mother's blog. Thank you.

My condolences to his family and friends.

Judy at Peace Be With You said...

Sherry, though the circumstances for you both were vastly different, such pain suffers no strangers, and I figured you two would have something to say to one another.