By now many of you are aware of the passing of Mimi Fishman. Miriam “Mimi” Fishman died Tuesday at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center at the “young” age of 64.
Mimi suffered some complications associated with dialysis and had a heart attack.
I would like to share some of my thoughts and experiences concerning Mimi. Most will be at random as I sit here and type away on my keyboard, so please understand how disjointed this post may be.
Before I continue, I would first like to thank the community for their overwhelming outpouring of love, feelings, and emotions in the many emails the Foundation has received as well as those messages sent to rec.music.phish. You are all truly amazing.
I know some of you actually knew Mimi, some knew of Mimi, while others may not even be familiar with her.
Mimi and I have been very close for several years. We shared many thoughts, ideas, stories, etc, in our 2-3 conversations per week. What really struck me in a positive way was how much time and energy Mimi gave towards others…and her caring of others…while at the same time having many difficulties (medically speaking) of her own.
She focused many hours of her life in raising money for various charities, the first of which was The American Glaucoma Society. It was very important to Mimi to promote people learning of the importance of early detection concerning glaucoma, as she was unfortunate not to be able to have hers detected early enough to make a huge difference. Mimi spent many hours…and much of her own money in promoting this cause.
In terms of Phish, it was common to see Mimi right up in the front, Jon side of course (at least during their older stage lineup) dancing away, while watching every move by the drummer. Many fans….mostly strangers, would join Mimi in dance…and for those of you that were able to witness Mimi at a show, the huge smile on her face never left. She would watch Jon play with an adoring look on her face that only a mother could have.
She would talk for hours upon hours after shows about meeting this person, and that person. Her love for the Phish fans and community was real. She so much appreciated…and frankly was shocked…that so many people would travel so many miles to see her son.
Speaking of shows…it was such an event for Mimi to attend a Phish show. She would always show up (in her best Phish garb, with Phish Parent lammy around neck) hours early. First on the agenda was a massage backstage. She looked so forward to this 15 minutes of pure pleasure. If time permitted perhaps a little of soundcheck would be witnessed…...then it was off to catering and dinner with Jon. Another highlight of the night for Mimi. With Jon on tour she didn’t get to see him as much as she would have liked, and the 30 minutes or so of some one-on-one time with Jon was bliss for her. After dinner Mimi would relax a bit more backstage and then it was off to find her spot right up against the stage…independent of where her seat actually was. And boy was the walk up front something!!! She couldn’t move 2 feet without a hug or handshake (mainly hugs) from someone. What would normally be a 3 minute walk turned into a 15 minute love affair :) It almost felt like Elvis entered the building…and was truly magical to see…and will never be erased from my memories. Finally Mimi would make her way to her show position, the lights would dim, the band would take the stage, and the dancing would begin.
Other lasting random memories I will always be lucky enough to have include Mimi giving my son (Neal, 5) his first drum….hmmmm?.
I also remember the look on Mimi’s face when she was introduced to Kirby Puckett (heck, I didn’t realize I could actually pull that one off)...who also has glaucoma.
I will always remember, the sound in her voice whenever we spoke of the Foundation and the money raised for some meaningful organizations to her.
Among all memories, my most heartwarming might be her calling me her “St. Louis Son”.
One of the funny stories I can share occurred in St. Louis, when Phish played Riverport in ’98 I believe. Mimi wanted to meet up with Jon the day before the show, as Phish was in town a day early on an off day. Mimi and I drove to the hotel and were told that Jon went to the St. Louis Science Center. By the way, getting that information out of the person at the front desk of the Ritz was nearly impossible as they didn’t quite believe Mimi was actually Jon’s mom. Anyway, we drove to the Science Center, walked around a bit and did not happen to find Jon. There must have been a few thousand people there so I didn’t think we would run into him….if in fact he was still even there. Well much to my surprise, Mimi approached a security guard asking if he could help find her son. Of course the guard immediately sent out an alert, and proceeded to ask Mimi her son’s age and what he was wearing….thinking we were talking about a young child. We of course corrected the guard and all had a good laugh out of it. One of those you had to be there things, but a funny memory nonetheless. By the way, we did end up running into Jon on our way out.
All in all Mimi was one of, if not the most, thoughtful, kind, caring, giving, wonderful person I have had the privilege to know. She will be so truly missed.
Although my tears will eventually evaporate, my wonderful memories of Mimi never will.
Mimi always mentioned “Divided Sky” as one of her favorites….well, it’s through that same divided sky that I will always be able to look up into the heavens and see a vision of Mimi….dancing, smiling, and caring for others.
She was truly one of the great ones.
Thanks for sharing some time with me.