“he left nothing undone”. . .
The quotation title of this post is what Jill Carr said about the passing of her late husband, David Carr, last Thursday night. There has been an outpouring of anecdotes about him even though it’s less than a week since he died: intimate remembrances from friends, family, colleagues and strangers providing insight about him in the wake of his death (pun intended.)
As one writer noted, David Carr epitomized a life that illustrated second chances are possible. Redeeming himself with newborn twins, an addiction to drugs and a life of waste laid upon his body as well as on a dim future, he suffered from cancer, married, had another daughter, got a job at the NYTimes in 2002 and lived for another 13 years before he collapsed last week at his desk.
One irate reader asked why all the fuss over David Carr when she hadn’t been impressed by his writing nor his column? I guess you had to read and glean what it was from what others said about him to learn why he was so admired and not just what he wrote about. What I can gather is that he was a teacher about life as well as about writing. That he was stern and severe in his expectations coupled with empathy and encouragement towards those starting out and especially providing a way for diversity in the mix. He could fiercely compete with you and also be close friends. I guess it might be more uncommon for people in high places like the Times to be that human and that compassionate towards others.
One commentator said that David might not have been the worst dancer, nor the best, but he was certainly the most secure when he was dancing. He lived life to the fullest no matter what he did and it seemed he must have known about his debilitating failing health for a long time and made a conscious choice to power on ahead anyhow. He died not in a hospital bed set in his living room but on the beat, working and doing his job.
I guess this is what his wife meant when she said he left nothing undone. That’s a pretty powerful message for those of us looking around ourselves to see what still needs to be done. And more importantly, what we would like to do that we haven’t yet done.
That’s a pretty powerful legacy to leave behind, don’t you think?
Long live David Carr!