Let's think of it as a thank-you note
April 9, 2008 8:02 PM   Subscribe

"I love reading your letters—I do. But I couldn't get into it. I just don't have a column in me this week." A sweet, sad eulogy from columnist Dan Savage.
posted by Blazecock Pileon (73 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
I love Dan Savage and he's always talked about his mom, how sad.
posted by whoaali at 8:06 PM on April 9, 2008

Wow, that was amazing - emotional for me, too. I was that kid. And if I lived in Chicago I'd be asking for those tickets.

posted by crossoverman at 8:12 PM on April 9, 2008

posted by docpops at 8:15 PM on April 9, 2008

Shit. My condolences, Dan. That was a very sweet sendoff for an amazing lady.
posted by LeeJay at 8:17 PM on April 9, 2008

As one who used to love reading "The Rocket", seeing "The Stranger" in stands around Seattle makes it feel like old times are new. Dan Savage gives the mag much of the timbre it carries with smart articles cleverly disguised. And now an insight as to what makes creative people tick. A parent who lived by being understanding, loyal, clever, flamboyant, insightful, strong to her children. To Dan's mom I raise my glass; if only all people lived lives of dedication, compassion and fun.

Mr. Savage I am truly sorry for your loss.

posted by somnambulist at 8:21 PM on April 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

Aw. I saw this the other day and got all choked up. I'm sending him a picture of my boyfriend's ass, as requested.
posted by scody at 8:24 PM on April 9, 2008

Deify the mother figure already!

Most touching public eulogy since Craig Ferguson's father's. An inspiring and beautiful display of heart.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:32 PM on April 9, 2008


I'd send him a picture of my own ass, but that would make his bad week even worse. Shit.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:34 PM on April 9, 2008

Shit, indeed. All mothers should be as open-hearted to their children's sexual orientations.
posted by ColdChef at 8:35 PM on April 9, 2008

posted by lalochezia at 8:38 PM on April 9, 2008

Very touching.

I propose that "Shit" replace the eulogizing "." from here on out.
posted by Arch_Stanton at 8:41 PM on April 9, 2008 [14 favorites]

A friend of a friend has a 20-something son who is now a daughter, the required operations having been completed. When asked about how he dealt with the gender change in his child, he replied "I'd rather have a live, happy daughter than a dead son."

Dan's mom seemed to have been as cool and loving a person as that, if not more.
posted by illiad at 8:44 PM on April 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by Tesseractive at 8:45 PM on April 9, 2008

I was moved. Shit.
posted by Nelson at 8:57 PM on April 9, 2008

I just got ready for bed and remembered there would be a new column today. It was very sad to read. I'll be sure to send a gift to the pulmonary fibrosis people.
posted by parmanparman at 9:02 PM on April 9, 2008

That's how you eulogize. If I were to eulogize my father, I'd tell the story of the first time he ever called me a motherfucker, one of my fondest memories of him, and about as hard as I've ever laughed in over three decades.

So sorry, Dan. Your mom's not suffering anymore, but I know that doesn't make it suck less.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:03 PM on April 9, 2008

posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:04 PM on April 9, 2008

Heaven's got a new angel, and I've got a new role model. May I be half the mother she was.
posted by padraigin at 9:26 PM on April 9, 2008

That's sad, that his mother passed away. His grief is genuine, and I appreciate his send-off. But is this Savage guy someone special, other than apparently a sex columnist?

I dunno...eulogizing your mother in a sex column just seems...weird.
posted by davidmsc at 9:32 PM on April 9, 2008

'Shit' is my mothers favorite word. There was always a pause before she said it but...it always arrived.


Thanks for sharing that one, BP.
posted by paddysat at 9:35 PM on April 9, 2008


^ shit viewed from a long distance
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:36 PM on April 9, 2008 [2 favorites]

eulogizing your mother in a sex column just seems...weird.

Actually, segregating the idea of mothers from a sex column is what seems weird. Sorry to hear about your loss, Dan.
posted by mwhybark at 9:40 PM on April 9, 2008 [2 favorites]

But is this Savage guy someone special, other than apparently a sex columnist?

He's written a couple of best sellers, including one about the experience he and his partner had embarking on parenthood. He's one of the good guys.
posted by padraigin at 9:53 PM on April 9, 2008

Yeah, that made me cry a little bit. What a wonderful thank-you note. My dad had his second heart attack this week. He's already back on his feet and acting like he's feeling better than ever, but it's still ... not something I want to think about.
posted by penduluum at 9:54 PM on April 9, 2008

In response to the same link, someone on reddit made me cry further by posting Dave Barry's column about his last words with his father. I figure I should spread the tears around.
posted by chime at 10:14 PM on April 9, 2008

I can empathize with him, so I couldn't read through the whole thing. Here's what I just wrote for my dad. Other than that I later realized I used the word "develop" twice, I wouldn't change a thing. He would've really loved it. And he would've loved his memorial even more... I booked the Seabiscuit skybox at the Del Mar Racetrack and they brought in some really great catered food. It was a gorgeous day and the room overlooks the track and the ocean. I even made a playlist on my ipod of his favorite music. When "Luck Be A Lady" started playing, my uncle & I actually found ourselves dancing a little and laughing. There were about forty people I guess. It couldn't have gone more smoothly, really.

I miss him. Life's so fucking weird and quiet without him in it. The big goofball.

Okay, I guess this'll be my big cry for the day.

posted by miss lynnster at 10:19 PM on April 9, 2008 [2 favorites]

BTW, my dad used to talk about his best friend after he died and say, "Yeah, I sure miss Roy. He was the last of the good guys" and that's where that first line came from. Weirdest thing is that my dad used to drag race cars and they were having a car show the weekend after his memorial at the track. So as if having custom antique cars all over the place wasn't enough of a coincidence... the memorial was a few days after the obituary appeared, so imagine my surprise when all over the fairgrounds there were signs saying "Welcome Good Guys!" Totally freaked me out.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:23 PM on April 9, 2008

My mom died twelve years ago this month.

My condolences, Dan. My sincerest and weepiest condolences. Your mom and my mom can hang out together now - they sound like very different people who would like each other a whole lot.
posted by rtha at 10:24 PM on April 9, 2008

A week from today would have been my mother's 60th birthday.

I was always a momma's boy and always will be. From my momma to the momma that is laying beside me in bed right now to the 16 month old girl of mine in the other room that may be a momma herself one day.

Here's to all the momma's that bring life into this world and then spend the rest of their lives gritting it out, doing best to make it up as they go along, to do the right thing, to be everything they are supposed to be and then some.

My mother had some times that she wished for a do over. She drank, she was a former stripper, she had a couple bad marriages. But damn if she wasn't the most giving, caring, intelligent, hilarious, fiercely loyal person you could ever hope to meet.

Most of all, she was my mother and my best friend. And I miss her all the time.

I'll send the rudest ass photo I have, Dan.
posted by afflatus at 10:38 PM on April 9, 2008 [3 favorites]

posted by BrotherCaine at 10:38 PM on April 9, 2008

This sure brought the tears.
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:02 PM on April 9, 2008

This sure brought the tears.

I was perfectly fine until I got to the part where he offers the theatre tickets to a mom and her teenage gay son.

That bit snuck up and slapped me like a baseball bat.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:35 PM on April 9, 2008 [2 favorites]

I would say something but I can't.

Thinking too much of my stepfather right now.

One of the best guys. Some of the San Diegans here might even know his name.

God, I hate typing crying and maudlin.
posted by Samizdata at 11:42 PM on April 9, 2008

Y'all are making me teary. Good luck.

posted by flibbertigibbet at 12:26 AM on April 10, 2008

Worst part is that I don't think my mom's going to last six more months. Wouldn't be surprised if she died within weeks just to upstage my dad's mourning (she's actually seemed jealous of the attention he's been getting -- she's funny that way). Anyhow, it's horribly intense to know that by this time next year I'll most likely be orphaned and never be able to talk to either of them again.

I'm glad they won't be in pain, but it makes me simultaneously sad and numb which doesn't feel very good. Sometimes I run out of tears, though.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:17 AM on April 10, 2008


Thanks, Blazecock Pileon, for this pointer. I would not have seen it otherwise.
posted by cgc373 at 1:20 AM on April 10, 2008

Shit. Btw, Dan is the best sex advice columnist to ever pick up the pen.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:43 AM on April 10, 2008

Shit, those were some great words. I'd heard of Savage on Mefi before, but never felt compelled to read up on him until now. (I always assumed he was that other Savage from The Wonder Years, and wondered what the folks on Mefi were chagrin' about.)

Too bad his mom didn't have a blog of her own; now there's a site I would've loved to have read!
posted by hadjiboy at 2:50 AM on April 10, 2008

But is this Savage guy someone special, other than apparently a sex columnist?

As others have mentioned, Dan is a best selling author and the best Sex/Relationship Advice columnist on the planet, but perhaps more importantly- Dan is the one who turned Rick Santorum into a disgusting sex byproduct and (in my opinion) kept him from getting re-elected.

Sorry for your loss Dan. Take all the time you need.

posted by brevator at 4:24 AM on April 10, 2008

This really hit home for me right now. My sisters and I have been spending a lot of time looking for a long-term care facility for my mom who barely remembers my name at this point. It's pretty likely that she's only got a few more years left, so I've been thinking about how well I'll deal with that eventuality when it comes. My mom was a giant person in height, personality and intellect and watching her decline in the last five years has been heartbreaking for us and infuriating for her (when she can remember).
posted by octothorpe at 4:59 AM on April 10, 2008

posted by Pecinpah at 5:17 AM on April 10, 2008

an ultimatum delivered to the whole family: Anyone who had a problem with me had a problem with her.

Took my breath away.
posted by grubi at 5:25 AM on April 10, 2008 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure how to respond. This resonates for me if only because I have aging parents and one of them is in a rehab right now after a triple bypass. The other has a slew of physical issues. As someone said upthread, it's not the sort of thing you want to dwell on. Between this, gradschool, lack of sleep, and a general sense of the pain of the world (brought on, in part, by sort of, kind of, listening to/watching Idol Gives Back in the other room while proofreading a galley), this column made me feel like my soul can't hold anymore. It's full to bursting, of what, I'm not sure. Love? Pain? Sympathy? Empathy? All I know is that my eyes are wet and there's a lump in my throat and it's both good and bad, happy and sad, and it's terrible and beautiful, all at the same time. I suppose I don't know what I'm talking about, but I felt the need to say something in response to this. Thanks, Dan, and I'm so sorry for your loss.

posted by exlotuseater at 5:36 AM on April 10, 2008

What a moving tribute... So sorry for your loss, Dan.
posted by whatideserve at 5:46 AM on April 10, 2008

Thanks for the post, BP. A great farewell.
posted by languagehat at 5:57 AM on April 10, 2008

What a lovely tribute for a lovely lady.
I hope some boy really enjoys those tickets.
posted by pointystick at 5:59 AM on April 10, 2008

posted by emperor.seamus at 6:36 AM on April 10, 2008

a general sense of the pain of the world (brought on, in part, by sort of, kind of, listening to/watching Idol Gives Back...

Yeah, I know what you mean. That awful Robin Williams sketch made me feel kinda nauseous too.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:53 AM on April 10, 2008

posted by Reverend John at 6:56 AM on April 10, 2008

Dan's the best. Condolences to him.

posted by readery at 7:03 AM on April 10, 2008

What grubi said. Farewell to a courageous lady.
posted by Quietgal at 7:15 AM on April 10, 2008

posted by Westringia F. at 7:41 AM on April 10, 2008


I hope my daughter misses me like this after I check out.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 7:52 AM on April 10, 2008

Add my shit to the rest of the shits here.
I'm sorry to hear of his loss and I hope he will be back soon, in fine form, pissing off someone or other.
posted by willmize at 7:54 AM on April 10, 2008

posted by moonlet at 9:03 AM on April 10, 2008

I miss him. Life's so fucking weird and quiet without him in it.

When my father died we put him in the ground.
When my father died it was like a whole library had burned down.
--Laurie Anderson
posted by Nelson at 9:08 AM on April 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Daaaaaah cryingatworkcryingatwork stop it.
posted by spec80 at 9:28 AM on April 10, 2008

> I propose that "Shit" replace the eulogizing "." from here on out.

I like that idea. The period has kind of worn out its welcome, tradition be damned.
posted by WCityMike at 9:44 AM on April 10, 2008


Dan, if I run into you on the Hill anytime soon, I might have to tell you how sorry I am. Hope that's OK. You - and your mom - are amazing people.
posted by tristeza at 11:33 AM on April 10, 2008

I dislike Savage Love a great deal-- I think Dan can deal with sex questions well enough but falls down on the relationship ones, especially when it comes to women-- but as a mother I would consider my life a success to have inspired such a wonderful tribute. Thanks for the post.
posted by jokeefe at 11:51 AM on April 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by geekyguy at 1:58 PM on April 10, 2008

I wish I had a boyfriend's ass photo handy..

My condolences to Dan Savage-- who is the best sex columnist ever, and I think his relationship advice is great-- I couldn't help crying.
posted by Maias at 2:30 PM on April 10, 2008

"Shit" was one of the few words my grandmother could reliably say after her strokes. Said lightly, ruefully, with disgust or surprise or annoyance or world-weary existential humor, it was a whole vocabulary in a single word.

May every little queer have as a mom as GGG (good, giving, and game) as Jude.

Here's where you can donate to PFLAG in memory of Dan Savage's mother Jude.
posted by ottereroticist at 3:17 PM on April 10, 2008

posted by Superfrankenstein at 4:01 PM on April 10, 2008

i cried like a baby.

that's all.
posted by liza at 9:07 PM on April 10, 2008

oh, and i forgot ... "shit".
posted by liza at 9:12 PM on April 10, 2008

Mefi is doing well, posting all this sad stuff on my dad's birthday. He died only one year ago. I wish I could write something to remember him by as eloquent as Dan's piece. In the year since, I get myself all teary if I even pick up a pen to capture something about him.

Shit. I miss you dad.
posted by chronic sublime at 12:01 AM on April 11, 2008

posted by Pope Guilty at 2:42 AM on April 11, 2008


Now you people did it to me.

posted by mwhybark at 12:28 AM on April 12, 2008

It’s not that Dan Savage showed a lapse in taste by eulogizing his mother in a sex column. It’s just that he has a regular sex column he has to write, this time he couldn’t, and he explained why. What he had available to him was the regularly scheduled sex column, which he pre-empted.
posted by joeclark at 11:40 AM on April 13, 2008

This made me cry. I so so SO did not need to cry today. She sounded like a lovely lady, and I'm sorry she's gone. The ultimatum, as someone else said upthread, took my breath away.

When my parents go I don't know if I'll have good memories like this to think about, good things to say. And that makes me sadder than anything else.
posted by Phire at 11:13 PM on April 14, 2008

I used to think the same thing Phire. I feel blessed that I was able to turn that around. All I can say is, try to get to know your parents from a different angle and understand them as people while you still can. See if you can look at them as though they aren't your parents. I actually started spending time with my parents and just letting them talk about stuff, almost like I was interviewing them. They were just so happy that I was interested, that alone was a gift for them. I set my judgments and emotions aside and to understand them as though they're the subjects of a documentary or something, and I tried to imagine being in their shoes. Even the worst of parents usually did the best they could with what they had to work with, even though from the outside it may not seem so. Things that don't make sense, somehow they're easier to parse when you look at the big picture without your own emotions and memories guiding you. Even the craziest things, I found myself going, "OOOOHHHHH, okay. She did that because her mom taught her this. Now I get it. My mom wasn't just being a bitch, she's doing what felt natural and didn't know any better."

I had a ridiculously crappy childhood and really worked on getting to deeply know and find forgiveness for my folks over the last few decades so that months like this wouldn't be too traumatic. To use the phrase I used to use, I didn't want their deaths to "leave me inconsolably fucked up for life." It's the best gift I have ever given myself in life, to be honest. I had problems with my parent's choices and attitudes over the years, but by the end there's nothing unsaid between us... I know they love me, like me, want the best for me and did the best they could which wasnt always perfect; they know I love them and totally understand. I accepted that their life choices were their own, not mine, they understood the same of me, and I feel thankful to be left holding positive memories that I can take with me from hereon out. It's really a gift. It's made the last few weeks of my life much, much calmer. With my dad dying, I've felt a lot more positive, peaceful sadness than I expected. I really have been feeling the loving and good and happy sides of him more than anything else, much more so than I expected to. I still remember old negative stuff, but I don't feel it. And I'm really thankful for that.

If I can find peace, there's hope for anyone. Trust me. Not saying it's easy but it's really, really worth looking for.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:56 AM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

I just got around to reading this. I've been listening to his podcast and skipping his column, so I might have missed this entirely. I'm very glad you posted this.
posted by desjardins at 2:09 PM on April 19, 2008

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