I have been in and out of tears throughout the entire day. I only popped in here to write this message as I thought that perhaps his family would look to this message board for comforting words in the coming weeks.
I want you to know that Mr. Bradbury changed how I viewed the world. Mr. Bradbury changed how I view other people. Mr. Bradbury changed how I view my time on this earth. I cry today because I feel his loss as if he is my own family member. I feel robbed of a brilliant, wonderous man who I have never even met, but to whom I feel a bond. I feel guilt for being so selfish as to want more from a man that has already made the world richer with all he has given, but yet I mourn because I know that that his writings are, indeed, finite. I cry because he will never write another sentence so beautifuly constructed that it makes me catch my breath. I mourn today....deeply.
I hope that tomorrow I cry with gratitude that he lived and shared with the world, but mostly that he shared with me....a girl he'd never met and didn't know existed, but whose life he touched in such a way that she was (is) forever altered.
So, for his family, you have my deepest and most heartfelt condolences. You undoubtably mourn the deepest, but you do not mourn alone. You are in my thoughts.
Oh, Jamie, how lovely. I've been crying too, the same way.
Of his relatives, I have corresponded only with Tina (one brief phone call), Maggie (one longer and fascinating phone call), and Zee (email), but extend love and condolences to the other daughters and grandchildren as well. Though they were not the celebrity, Ray's family were all as gracious and generous as he was. Thanks for being so lovely and sharing Ray with all of us!
A very belated thanks to you Ray! You painted pictures in my head and gave my imagination wings. What a gift!
I know that his family knows more than anyone what a loss this is and I grieve for them most. But I grieve for all of us as well. As has been said, some of the magic went out of the world when he left. He brought so much magic to it. He captured it in words and gave it back to us. We will all miss him. He was a wonderful part of out lives.
I read The Martian Chronicles when I was 10. I haven't read it since but I remember the reflection of martians in a puddle and what it meant. It was our challenge. He even wanted to be buried on Mars. He truely believed we would one day land there. He believed in mankind even knowing our darkest possibilties and still held to the Toynbee Convector view of life. He was an indefatigable optimist. How he could be in the face of NASA funding cuts and massive subsidies for oil companies I'll never know. He had faith in us though, and now we have to live up to that faith as best we can.
But oh did he know our darkest possibilities. The next book I read was and remains my favorite, Something Wicked This Way Comes. He knew somehow of both the secret longings of boys and old men. He knew of a small town America now fading in the rear view and it is a place I miss. He knew the thrill of Carnivals and night excursions on young hearts. He knew how hard those whose youth is fading hold to those dusty remnants they hide away like treasure inside them. He even knew what my father had in his pockets. He broke my heart describing Wills fathers collection of odd bits he carried. They were my Dads, a man in all ways, who nevertheless kept boyhood in his pockets somehow.
It wasn't the last time he broke my heart. He knew my wish and wrote it in The Wish of Long After Midnight, my favorite of short story collections. That was another time of many but this last... I knew it was coming and I thought I had steeled myself. I thought I only liked the man as I would any author who exposed all the best and worst of life and revelled in it's joys like a kid in a pile of leaves or poked at the snake which slithered out with a long stick. I was wrong. This hurts worse than I thought it would. Damn it to hell Ray, I wanted you to live forever.
I guess it is selfish to want to hold on forever. It is not our lot. As the years pass we must see those we most cherish leave us. We have to let go and carry on. My hope is that we carry the best of them with us and pass that on forever. There will be a lot to pass on from Ray.
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