Leonard Nimoy was a poet, a writer, an actor on the stage and the big screen and more. He is, however, still best known for his role on a science fiction show which was only on the air for three years nearly five decades ago.
Star Trek has always been present in my life. I can remember it playing in the background when I had dinner with my grandma as a kid. It ran in endless cycles of reruns; I would watch on sick days when I was in middle school. In high school, Spock and Kirk were the stars of dozens of fanfiction stories that kept me up late at night, which had me sighing dreamily over a love that dare not speak its name. Star Trek was one of the things that brought me and my husband together. My Facebook timeline is littered with pictures of the two of us in various Starfleet uniforms, fingers spread in the now ubiquitous Vulcan greeting.
To me, Star Trek had its own sense of community. It brought me closer to my friends and introduced me to a whole wide world of fan culture. The crew members of the Enterprise are as familiar to me as family. I know them and their world as well as as I know my own and losing Leonard Nimoy; losing Spock, feels like losing a friend.
I know, deep down, that Leonard Nimoy is not (was not) Spock. That was the title of his first autobiography after all. But in an even deeper place inside of me, he really is and maybe Nimoy himself felt this way. He did title his second autobiography I Am Spock. Sure, he was a real man with a real life that was so, so, much more than Star Trek. But to many loyal fans, it’s hard to imagine him without the bad haircut, pointy ears and makeup.
It’s even harder to imagine that there will be no more Leonard Nimoy in my life. It’s almost impossible to think that the Star Trek universe is continuing to expand without him. I know that he will always be important to the show and to the fans. Spock was a great character to young nerds. He was strong and smart and brave and even though he was different, he had friends and people who loved him.
Spock was everything I could admire in a person rolled into one. He was brave in the face of danger. He was intelligent and hardworking. Even though he appeared aloof and cold, he cared deeply about his work and his friends.
Nimoy was an artist who took what could have been a very unrelatable character, and transformed him into a person that was admirable and lovable. I know that the character of Spock and the depictions of Vulcans fans will see in the future, will always be shaped largely by Nimoy. But it won’t be the same. In my heart of hearts, there is only room for one beautiful, brilliant alien.
I’m going to spend some time mourning in my own way. I will work my way through the original series, episode by episode. I will hold my plush tribble, drink some tea and watch all the old movies. I will watch The Wrath of Khan. I will watch Spock die. I will almost certainly cry, not just when Spock dies, but when he comes back. I will probably cry a bit harder when I watch that part, because I know that the real world is much less fair. Once I turn the TV off, Spock won’t really be coming back.