Cathy Chester | An Empowered Spirit

We Mourn The Loss And Celebrate The Legacies

Heaven became richer this weekend with the passing of three incredibly gifted men who were each deeply committed to their craft. They illuminated our lives in varied ways with their brilliance and talents, and brightened our world with their legacies. We were blessed to have had them among us.

They will be missed.


I can’t imagine our world without ever having the great, compassionate Oliver Sacks, the neurologist who loved and understood people and wrote his own unique tune of bridging science with storytelling. He lived his life so large that retelling it for the sake of an obituary seems almost impossible. Sacks was such an extraordinarily gifted man, studying the intricacies of the brain from every angle and applying his wealth of knowledge to help those suffering with brain-related illnesses through his practice and his books.

“People will make a life in their own terms, whether they are deaf or colourblind or autistic or whatever. And their world will be quite as rich and interesting and full as our world.” ~Oliver Sacks

I see his writings as examples of possibility – pairing humanity with medicine by having an open and radiant heart. His love of music – particularly Beethoven and Mendelssohn – was legendary. It helped carry him to a kind of spirituality that helped him help others through the human suffering he understood too well. He knew a synergy existed between the mind and body and leaned on that for wellness for himself and others.

Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears – it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear. But for many of my neurological patients, music is even more – it can provide access, even when no medication can, to movement, to speech, to life. For them, music is not a luxury, but a necessity.” ~Oliver Sacks

To learn more about Oliver Sacks check out his 1974 memoir A Leg to Stand On or his insights on transforming our cognition through music in his book Musicophilia.


I first fell in love with author and motivational speaker Wayne Dyer after reading his 1976 bestselling book The Erroneous Zones that taught me how to stop negative self-talk. At the time I didn’t know it but his words would later play an important role in my life after being diagnosed with MS. Other books would follow that were equally helpful including Pulling Your Own StringsChange Your Thoughts Change Your Life, The Power of Intention and Excuses Begone!

“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.” 
“”Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.”
“Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.”~Wayne Dyer

The other day I took my usual walk and listened (for the millionth time) to Dyer reading his book Living the Wisdom of the Tao. He explains the teachings of the great Chinese prophet Lao-tzu and how changing the way you think will change your life. I love listening to Dyer’s voice; this book always resonates deeply. Every time I hear it I am inspired and re-energized. It is a great gift he left for all of us.


I admittedly was not a fan of Wes Craven movies. But you can’t argue the popularity of his films in such series as Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream. Going from the academic world into porn and then onto horror films, Craven carved a niche for himself that many theatergoers will truly miss.

Our world feels a bit emptier right now, but the legacies left behind by these three gentlemen help fill that void. To simply say thank you for their work sounds so inadequate. So instead I’ll share Oliver Sack’s last tweet (August 23) with his choice of accompanying video.

“A beautiful way to perform one of the world’s great musical treasures.” Oliver Sacks

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35 thoughts on “We Mourn The Loss And Celebrate The Legacies

  1. Manal The Go Go Girl

    I was very sad to hear about Dr. Dwyer’s passing. Like you, he changed my life and I listen to his audio books over and over again. He will always be my inspiration.
    I was not familiar with Oliver Sacks or Wes Craven but I have seen his movies. This article is a very nice tribute to all of them. Peace!
    Manal The Go Go Girl recently posted…Hug A Police Officer Today!My Profile

  2. Deb

    What a beautiful tribute to these men. I was incredibly sad to hear of Wayne Dyer’s passing. I brought a set of Wayne Dyer CD’s from the library with me last week on a long road trip. Thanks for sharing the wonderful video and tweet that Oliver Sachs posted. It gave me goosebumps. Peace to all of them.

    1. Post author

      I loved Wayne Dyer and when we were in high school I first became familiar with him. Now he’s like an old friend. What a great idea to bring tapes of his along for the ride, Deb. I’m sure you got a lot out of them.

      Yes, peace to them all. They will be missed. xoxoo Cath

  3. Emily

    This was such a nice tribute to these men, Cathy. That video posted by Sacks is truly special…I love seeing the people’s reactions to hearing these musicians play and most especially the expressions of the children watching and listening.
    Emily recently posted…The Dreaded Summer JobMy Profile

  4. Kay Dougherty

    It was a weekend of significant losses of 3 talented men. I didn’t know Wayne Dyer was ill and he seems young to have died. I really enjoyed and benefitted from his books as clearly many others also did. I just love this musical “tribute”at the end. I liked how it made little kids mimic being a conductor – maybe some little brain got turned on to a career in music when that performance took place!
    Kay Dougherty recently posted…The Berlengas Islands – a fun day trip from LisbonMy Profile

  5. Kit Minden

    I had not anticipated the losses,and was startled at hearing them. Perhaps the Old Guard is passing now. We raise our hands and salute them.

  6. Kathy @ SMART Living

    Hi Cathy! I was only slightly familiar with the work of Oliver Sacks, but have been a big fan of Wayne Dyer for many years. I was fortunate to see him speak live several times, read a bunch of his books, and that tape series, “Living the Wisdom of the Tao” is one of my husband’s favorites. Thom has also listened to it dozens of times. Wayne Dyer will be great missed by us all. ~Kathy
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  7. Paula Kiger (Big Green Pen)

    Yes — all great losses of people who made tremendous contributions. Especially (for me) Sacks — I have prosopagnosia like he did (not the same degree I don’t think but ….) — it was his public disclosure about the condition that eventually led me to be diagnosed and at least make sense out of some very awkward social situations!
    Paula Kiger (Big Green Pen) recently posted…Eight Minutes of AttentivenessMy Profile

  8. Helene Cohen Bludman

    It is sad to lose people who have contributed so much to society. Sacks’ last essay, Sabbath, was so beautiful and his way to say a final goodbye. You are right that their legacies will live on and that others will benefit from their gifts to society.

  9. Lana

    Thank you Cathy for sharing your tribute to three giants. Each were leaders in their field and each will be sorrily missed. I loved your inclusion of the Dyer quotes. Such power in those words. And what can I say about the power of the arts to move people.

  10. Molly Stevens

    Nicely written tribute reminding us of the important contributions of these 3 talented men. Wayne Dyer and Oliver Sacks wrote such important works and I have thoroughly enjoyed their writing and creativity through the years. They were so influential and will be sorely missed.
    Molly Stevens recently posted…Taking Stock of My MetabolismMy Profile

    1. Post author

      It is sad losing that generation of Sacks, Dyer and Craven. (The Greatest Generation were the WWII veterans, so these men are not part of them – but they are certainly great men!!)

      Thanks for the comment, Brenda. It’s greatly appreciated.

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