Wednesday, April 20, 2011

...-April 19, 2011

Invariably when I wake up, sixish a.m., I fling Tug against the wall (not really), stumble to the bathroom, and stagger to turn on the computer and then start the coffee.

This morning the very first thing I saw online was "R.I.P. Elisabeth Sladen 1948-2011", which felt like being thumped in the chest.

Lis Sladen played Sarah Jane Smith, the most beloved of all the Doctor's companions in the 48 years of Doctor Who. She was the first companion I ever saw, back in the mid-70s...
...and she was playing the part again, on the main show and The Sarah Jane Adventures, all the way into 2011...
...and it was just such a shock that she'd be gone at a (very youthful) 63. The public never knew she'd been ill and she was still filming just a few months ago.

You already know I'm a nerd and I hereby declare my undying devotion to Doctor Who. And Sarah Jane was the companion for so many fans, young and old; Lis Sladen seemed to still have the 25-year-old Sarah somewhere just below the surface. Everyone who worked with her or met her said she was a delight.

So I was sad.

And then I saw that Grete Waitz died, too.
She was a great, great runner: she won the New York City Marathon an astonishing nine times (and a silver medal in the LA Olympics), back when I was first interested in running, and by all accounts was a gracious and graceful woman.

She was my age, born in the same month, October 1953.

And I was a little sadder.

Now, this isn't going to be some lugubrious meditation on mortality. (Sorry, I'm an English teacher.) There's no "oh my God, if a great marathoner could die at my age, what about me?" Both women died of cancer, and there's not much we can do about that. That's never been among my many anxieties.

But the passing, on the same day, of seminal figures in two of my great loves, Doctor Who and running... well, it makes me think again of the wisdom of letting go, of realizing that things fall apart, and that it's okay. It has to be okay, because it's true.

It's okay.

1 comment:

George Kozak said...

I was shocked to learn that Elisabeth Sladen had died, as well. She was always my favorite companion of the Doctor, too. You may enjoy this link: Remember Doctor Who's Elisabeth Sladen with 4 fantastic moments.