A Brief Eulogy for Michael Weiner’s Substantial Dignity


One imagines that the diagnosis of an inoperable brain tumor is a particularly harrowing one for a 50-year-old person to receive — especially the sort of 50-year-old person who, by all appearances, derives fulfillment both from his private and professional life. Indeed, the only response of which I can personally conceive involves merely assuming the fetal position and cursing capital-F Fortune until such a time as my body stops functioning.

This doesn’t at all resemble late union head Michael Weiner’s particular strategy for dealing with his own diagnosis and subsequent illness. Indeed, it’s difficult to find news coverage of him in which he’s not expressly conceiving of life as a sort of luminous mystery.

Consider, for example, certain of his comments from July, reprinted in the Associated Press story regarding Weiner’s death on Thursday:

“I don’t know if I look at things differently. Maybe they just became more important to me and more conscious to me going forward,” he said. “As corny as this sounds, I get up in the morning and I feel I’m going to live each day as it comes. I don’t take any day for granted. I don’t take the next morning for granted. What I look for each day is beauty, meaning and joy, and if I can find beauty, meaning and joy, that’s a good day.”

There’s little else to add, of course. By virtue of time and circumstance, the world will forget about Michael Weiner, in very much the same way it’ll forget about those who’ve written or read this post. For those of us who remain present, however, grappling clumsily with the circumstances we’ve been handed, he’s provided an excellent model for a sort of practical and benevolent stoicism. If not a best case, that’s certainly a better case, scenario so far as the art of living is concerned.

Print This Post

Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

6 Responses to “A Brief Eulogy for Michael Weiner’s Substantial Dignity”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. The Return of Rambo Diaz says:

    RIP Michael. May I handle the little things that happen today with as much grace and dignity as you handled those circumstances that would have crushed so many.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Gyre says:

      I had a person sitting next to me at a weekly volunteer function that played it the same way. He told me to “do it right”. I hope I can follow in his and Weiners footsteps, if it comes to that. Is there a better way?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Bryan Joiner says:

    This is great.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Ron says:

    Brilliant post and a lesson to everyone. This really belongs on the FG page so that as many people as possible get to see it.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Billy says:

    This morning when I read he had passed it shocked me. Then I remembered we all knew this day was coming. What made it so shocking was that he lived like he had no diagnosis at all and just did what he wanted to do with his life and did it with a quiet dignity. He lived the way we all should.


    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Utah Dave says:

    Excellent piece. I really didn’t know much about him until his passing. But the one theme that seems universal from everyone I have read/heard is that he was a man of great intelligence, dignity and compassion. He was in a role that could easily have made him many harsh critics. Yet none are to be found. It would appear that the world would be a much better place with more Michael Weiners in it.

    Vote -1 Vote +1