Our Fanorama Family

With the passing of Ric Ocasek on September 15, the world has gone into mourning. Rock legends and up-and-coming musicians (and everyone in between) have been paying tribute to him all week long, in all sorts of meaningful ways: posting photos, tweeting remembrances, and singing his songs in live sets across the country. Not only do they celebrate the man they loved and admired, but they give us a gift in revealing more about who Ric really was. I am deeply appreciative.

Photo by Paul McAlpine

Seeing all of the headlines day after day, my sixteen-year-old daughter remarked, “Wow. I didn’t think it would be this big of a deal.” You see, here in my house, my family obviously knows about my fixation with Ben and The Cars, and they lovingly humor me about it, but they think it’s just my ‘little thing.’ They don’t know how important The Cars have been to the world at large, and none of them really understand how much the band matters to me. They don’t get that it is more than just an obsession or a hobby. Ben, Ric, David, Greg, Elliot… these guys move me. Their music is part of my brain matter, intimately inseparable from my emotions and memories. Their existence is important to my existence. And when they are no longer leaving fingerprints in this world, I feel it deep down inside. Not many of my peeps around here get that.

And so it has been all the more precious to me to see how the Cars fans have come together over the news that Ric is gone.

A few years ago someone coined the term ‘Fanorama’ to encompass the members of the Facebook groups and Twitter pages (and anywhere on social media, really) who regularly check in to geek out about The Cars. Over the years I’ve developed many solid relationships inside the Fanorama; people who I may or may not have ever met in ‘real life’ but that are part of my daily landscape. And while I’ve long considered them friends, I believe that Ric’s death has made us a family.

Artwork by Jim Clarke

When someone you love dies you automatically want to go to others who also loved that person and express your shock and sadness. You want to share the memories and pictures, you want to cry together and tell of regrets and give words of hope. It’s a natural human response, right? “Misery loves company.” And you bond as brothers and sisters in your grief.

And that’s what we did, our Fanorama. When Ric died, we virtually looked at each other in disbelief and said, “tell me it’s not true!” We collapsed on each other’s shoulders and cried together in grief. We gave strength and we took strength and we squeezed each other’s hands and asked, “how are you holding up?” We wrapped our arms around each other and held on tight and assured each other, “it’s going to be okay.” And we shared memories, music, stories, artwork, awe, laughter, frustration, gratitude. I felt it — I still feel it — every time I get on social media, the healing comfort of my dear Cars family.

I find that in the midst of this devastating loss there is so much love. It’s a beautiful thing.

So many offerings I’ve seen and heard this week have helped me, but I think this video comes the closest to encompassing my emotions in a visual form. I woke up the morning after Ric passed away feeling confusion and achy longing and at a bit of a loss. My FB feed was flooded, but this post from Becky B caught my eye. As I watched the incredible video she created, the tears came again, but as much pain as I felt watching it, it was different somehow. I saw the celebration of Ric and Ben. Her tribute skillfully addressed the hurt and the healing and the hope, all at the same time.

The song choice, the photos and live footage, the spiritual aura… I’m not sure how to explain my impressions.  I’ll just let you watch it. Be sure to grab some tissue.

I send out a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to Becky. I can’t imagine how late she stayed up the night Ric left us in order to create this tribute, but I’m so glad she did. It went straight to my heart.

And thank you, my Fanorama family. Being able to stay in touch with you this week has been such a consolation to me, and I know you are comforting one another, too. We’ll see each other through this, like a family should.

11 thoughts on “Our Fanorama Family

  1. This was an sad time and honestly the word shocked is amongst my top thought as another Fano friend Tai relayed the news. I am devastated. This was a brilliantly written piece Donna and yes…Becky’s video really put all in a wonderful capsule. Love to you all. Keep on laufhing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Very aptly put. I especially like your mention about our boys and their music being part of your brain matter. So true. I myself came late to the Fanorama, but I’ve been a fan of the Cars, and Ben especially, for years. I feel that, with my discovery of the Fanorama, that I’ve found another family. I’ve found a home. As for Becky’s unbelievable video tribute, I can’t put into words how much it moved me, and still does upon repeated viewings. It is a perfect tribute to two men who have done so much for us all. I weep every time I see it, a heartfelt tribute to two beautiful souls who changed my life. Our lives. Thanks and love to all of the Fanorama ❤

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Well… I didn’t need a tissue for that video. I needed a queen-size sheet. Your words ring so true, so accurately described–certainly my response–to the news of Ric’s passing. Stunned and shocked, I sat in front of my computer looking for others to commiserate with who were just as devastated. I found articles and tributes and though I was inconsolable at that moment, I found solace in that I wasn’t the only one who was so crushed. People drew together, comforted each other with commentary and tributes, and it was sort of healing, if that’s even possible. Thank you for your kindness, SPJ, and I know that their body of music will be with me until the day I draw my final breath, I’m still working my way through these horrible stages of grief. As we do.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Such a lovely tribute. Hard to put into words how this affected me. In my heart, I just know that these two will meet again in some place which we don’t yet understand, and play their beautiful music together.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow! When I first heard the news of Rics passing I thought/hoped it was a mistake or ‘fake news. It took awhile to sink in. What a shock!
    When I read this statement ‘There music is part of my brain matter, intimately inseparable from my emotions and memories.’ this sums up exactly how I always felt about the Cars. Their music moved me like no other band. I love music and there are many other bands but The Cars were so unique. I rarely find anyone in my world that understands the way I feel about this band, their music Rics words, the way they dressed, etc.. Everything about them influenced and formed who I became. Only a true Cars fan would understand. I never realized how many people besides me still love them.
    Becky’s tribute video is beautiful and moving. It feels good knowing that I’m not the only one that felt devastated when they heard the news. Broke my heart.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Of course I love this, your post and the great timing of Becky B to have put this video up so early on that Monday morning when the world was learning of RIc’s passing. It helped bring my feelings to the surface.
    Your feeling of the Fanorama being a family is touching, and I have to say, I never thought I would be part of a “family” like this through social media, but here I am.
    Thanks to the living memory of Benjamin Orr, good people have come together to share their music appreciation and love for an incredible band.

    Liked by 2 people

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