A Tribute to Maurice Gibb
"The Measure of the Man"
by Lynne Yule
It caught us all unaware.
Never could we have expected that such a bright light could be extinguished so quickly.
Its so like human nature, isn't it? ..to have such a special one among us and not even realize the profound impact it would have if he left us unexpectedly.
We tend to get used to having a family member or a friend with us. I
t is so normal that we are together!
I don't think any of us imagined how hard it would hit us to find Maurice suddenly gone from our lives.
We find ourselves these 2 months later still groping for a way out of the profound grief.
How will we ever come to terms with it and go on with our lives? I for one, find myself still on the edge of tears daily, wondering how I will ever adjust to this world without his captivating and mesmerizing presence...and his wonderful smile!
And so we all ask ourselves, as his brother Barry so beautifully put it..."What is the measure of this man, Maurice Gibb"?
His life was an example to us all!
He didn't intend it to be this way, he couldn't help it!
To begin with, he loved everyone. Stories abound throughout all these years of the BeeGees fame, of his kindness and caring about his many, many fans.
He always had the time and took the time to visit, have pictures taken, and share his humor with all those legions of fans across the years.
Every one of you is so lucky to have this personal memory! It is a treasure!
How many pictures do you suppose he has posed for? And thirty five years later...out and about in Miami, he still went out of his way to meet with, visit and spend a precious moment with a longing fan.
And we left with the feeling that he loved spending time with us.
Most of us love our family and a circle of friends, but imagine what it is like to have the world love you, and be able to love them all back! It takes a very special, gracious and unselfish person to love everyone.
What a superb example was his life.
I have read some very touching stories about Mo in these 8 weeks since his passing.
First the sheer volume of condolences that have come pouring in from across the world just shocked every newspaper and media outlet everywhere.
I read this over and over again.. they were all overwhelmed by the number of well wishers who took the time to call or write.
He was an extraordinary "ordinary person" (to coin a phrase from one of their wonderful songs)!
It dumbfounded the media!
I visited a web page Guest Book one evening and I was leaving my note of sympathy on the 1042nd page of condolences.
There were 5 notes to a page.
I read back about 30 pages and I was still on the same date of my note.
It was amazing. The outpouring of caring and genuine grief was very, very emotional!
Everyone loved him.
One man, George, wrote a very long note.
For the first week he wondered why he hadn't felt much emotion , until a special about Maurice came on the tele one evening and he just simply broke down and had to leave the room and cry his eyes out.
He said he just couldn't stop crying. And he pondered, why?
It was as if a part of himself had died with Mo. He had no idea how incredibly important this man had been to him all his life, until he was gone.
His grief couldn't be contained for a very long time. Bless him for sharing that private moment in his life with us.
People from every country on every continent were writing in.
Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Germany, France, Norway, Russia, the Eastern countries, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Scotland, Ireland, Japan, the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Iran..it went on and on, in just those pages I read that evening.
So many languages were represented.
It was unforgettable. Everyone loved Maurice! And of course it was because he loved everyone in return, and sang his heart out for them all his life.
Maurice was a multi-talented, professional entertainer from top to toe.
You always watched Mo on the stage at a concert.
We always heard a loud cheering response to his attention to the fans on his side of the stage.
He played every moment of the show for his audience.
It was his mission to truly entertain them! He gave himself totally.
Throughout his life, he had somehow mastered songwriting, and singing those wonderful and intricate harmonies.
Then there were the many instruments he mastered; a creator and arranger of the music, not only the songs and the lyrics. .. and in performance, he conducted the band as well. He had been a producer, written the sound tracks to movies, starred on the London stage, and starred in films.
What an incredible portfolio!
He was the consummate showman!
His style blossomed more and more as the years went by.
We all saw it emerge and mature. He had developed an image you could never miss!
In a crowd, you would know that Maurice was there.
We will always remember that hat! I now have a black hat hanging beside my favorite picture if him on my wall!
It was brilliant and will be remembered by the world for a very long time.
It became his signature! I once read that his brother Barry said of him, "He never just walked into a room, he pranced into it and immediately took it over!. Every room he ever pranced into was his!" What an amazing presence!
Mo was the benevolent brother, the reconciler. It must have been quite a challenge all their professional years to be the brother in the middle between his two very talented brothers, who normally sang the lead!
Yet, he found a way to make it work!
That is the measure of Mo..he found a way to make it work!
Rarely in show business does a group stay together and command superstar status for 5 decades.
Usually groups have long ago parted ways and been forgotten as decades pass.
Usually they never reconcile their friendships.
What the brothers Gibb accomplished is truly legendary!
How did these 3 brothers do it? It is a compelling example to the world. It was all about family and the love of family, and the love of the music. As Mo once said, it just wasn't fun unless we were together. The 3 of them together was the magic! Such a heart-warming quality of the brothers Gibb. They were together, all the way! That was it! And we have all been immeasurably touched by that love of family that became their trademark to the world!
Maurice was the courageous one! He was human and brought along some issues in his life, which he also had to share with the world! I cannot imagine what it would be like to have a personal problem in my life and have the whole world know about it. The whole world! But in Maurice's style, he had to find the solution! " I am weary but I have just begun to fight!" The last 10 years of Mo's life must have been very challenging but wonderful years for him. His crowning glory! He certainly came into his own. He dedicated himself to 'himself' these past ten years and climbed a mountain that few ever climb to the top! His brother Andy wasn't able to climb that mountain! But Mo did and he did it for all the world to see. An incredible success story, while we were all watching.
I was listening to a news channel in the USA the night after Maurice passed away. They had opened the phone lines for callers to give a remembrance of Mo. I tried so hard to dial in but always got a busy signal. Three of the callers they let through were members of his 12 step program class in Miami and they were completely devastated by his passing. Through their tears, each one of them give a wonderful remembrance of his years with them. They attributed their success to his constant presence, example, encouragement and determination. I felt it was great class on the part of this news station to let those 3 callers give their stories that afternoon. Mo had touched their lives in a permanent way and their lives were turned around as a result of his example. Again, everyone was touched by his example. The measure of the man!
And then there was his SMILE! His 'everlasting smile'! This smile, that even from a picture on the wall, could stop you in your tracks to look into that face in wonder. He made you feel near to him, always! How does a person acquire such a smile? It was the most radiant smile on the entire planet today! His face was full of light! You were entranced by it. The moment you looked at him, you felt a new lease on life. It could turn any cloudy day sunny! Heaven has gained the most incredible smile since Louis Armstrong, who was dubbed the ambassador to the world! We are all diminished by the absence of that smile in our world. Ever since that first day, I have made a promise to myself, to smile his smile every day. I have a little sign on my computer at work that says "Smile", to remind me. I will always attempt to smile each day of my life in his memory, to help make someone else's day sunnier!
Then there was his passion for paintball. Some could wonder why? He gave new meaning to paintball in the Miami area at first and then soon the world knew that Maurice played paintball. He loved fun! This team from his local program had hit the international scene together and found a whole new reason for living! How like him that it became a world class competition for him. You just couldn't take the professional out of the man! We read more and more about his world class success in his new "hobby". He always made a success of whatever he touched! And of course there was always the human side...he brought his local team along with him on this new "wild ride". Much of his attention gravitated to the youth and their interest in this sport. The kids mattered to him and got his immediate attention. He had the same patience and caring for them that he had for his music fans. His being an example to others in his life, went on and on. A man I don't know at all wrote recently that it was impossible not be Mo's best friend. Even when you tried not to be, you were his best friend after your first meeting! He had been invited by Mo to play paintball and he had hesitated..he wasn't in good enough shape. Then he took the time to get into better shape, but got too busy and just never made it to play a game with Mo. I could feel the tears coming through the computer as he said, "And so I let this rare opportunity pass me by and it now is never to be." It was obvious that Mo had touched him deeply and he too was left in mourning.
The measure of a man! Brother Barry referred to Maurice's family at the Grammy's. He pointed to them in the audience and said, "Here is Maurice's family...we think the measure of a man is his family!" The cameras panned around to them in the audience and here sat this beautiful lady, Yvonne, his wife, being as courageous as any woman could possibly be, suddenly on television across the world, so soon after her loss of Maurice. Next to her, a beautiful young daughter and a beautiful son., Samantha and Adam. Adam was then introduced to the world. As he walked forward to accept the Legend Award, we were all to see this wonderful, genuine and charming young man take the stage and speak to the world of his father. With unexpected poise and composure, he gave tribute to his Dad, who loved what he did all his life and would have wanted to thank his wife, Adam's mother..saying she was "his rock". It was the most poignant moment of the entire Grammy evening. A standing ovation and not a dry eye in the house! And we were all treated to a few moments of Mo's beautiful son, the greatest tribute of all to a man.
I have thought a great deal in these last 8 weeks about what really matters in life. I have been searching my soul for the meaning of it all. Why am I so devastated by this tragedy? Its as if the lights went out! Why could this possibly happen and what am I to learn? There must be some reason for it all. It is not for us to know the ways of God in life. But, surely there was a reason, and we must all honor that and one day come to terms with our loss, pick ourselves up and go on in life. Mo would want that! For myself, he had so many golden qualites and I will make it my tribute to Mo, to try to emulate those qualities for the rest of my life. I'll make the time for a friend, or a stranger.I'll attempt to make a day better for someone, by my presence. I'll try to make another's day happier! I'll try to make a difference in this world with my life. I'll think that all things are possible and go after them. I'll always reach for professionalism, but always with heart. I'll try to love more in my life, give much more than I get and let my light shine, as he did. And I'll attempt to climb my own mountains and not just stand at their foot and look up. I'll get to the top! If Mo could do it, so can I. And I'll think a lot about how to make my life an example to others. Mo would surely say that he was just having fun in life! But every one of us knows there was much more to Mo's life that that! That is the incomparable measure of this wonderful man.
I have a favorite poem from an esoteric book by a poet and writer, Paul Twitchell, titled, "Stranger By The River". This poem is for Maurice..who is undoubtedly playing beautiful music in his new world!
We'll never forget you Maurice and thank you for everything you gave us in your spectacular life!
If you desire love,
try to realize
that the only way to get love
is by giving love.
That the more you give,
the more you get;
and the only way
in which you can give
is to fill yourself with it,
until you become a Magnet of Love..
There, my son, is Love.
The love that makes all things beautiful.
Yes, and breathes divinity
into the very dust you treat.
With love, shall your life roll on gloriously
like the voice of great music
that has power to hold the hearer's heart
poised on eagle's wings
far above the earthly world.
Stranger by the River
by Paul Twitchell,