The Last Word

As the world press laments the death of Dan Wheldon, two time winner of the Indianapolis 500, I’ve pondered the last words posted by Dan.

Dan Wheldon

Now, I don’t profess to knowing anything about Dan Wheldon, nor do I know much about Indy 500 and IndyCar racing … so if you stumbled here on that basis – sorry! But a post came up in my feed and I followed it to see who he was.

The thing that stood out to me was his Twitter feed … right up until the 17th October 2011 Dan Wheldon was tweeting and carrying on his life and living without any thought of what was about to happen to him, his family, the racing world, the press, his friends, his fans, his followers.

@DanWheldon, the official Twitter of IndyCar and two time Indianapolis 500 Champion Dan Wheldon … and with his last tweet that simply stated “Green!!!!”.

The Last Post

As Dan tweeted that post he was in high spirits about the potential of winning, an earlier post “Big day today, $5,000,000.00 at stake!!! Heading to the track.”

There were no doubts in his mind of returning to his wife and children, there was no doubts about tweeting his result after the race – probably even anticipating a win. But for Dan the tragedy of death struck and has rippled throughout his life circles … his family, friends, the racing fraternity and beyond.

For Dan Wheldon, there were no profound last words, no farewell speech, no chance for goodbyes or kisses for his children – for Dan Wheldon his last post was simply “Green!!!!”.

What will your last post be? What will your final words be? Who will be let down? Who will be upset? Who will feel unfulfilled? Who will be left angry? How will you be remembered?

For Each Moment

There are 1000’s of self help lessons on living for the moment, the “carpe diem” life! There are many that spend all their time chasing trinkets and novelties … but for Dan Wheldon, if given the chance, would he have chosen to miss that race and spend the day with his kids? To sit with his mum and dad? His siblings?

This obviously has nothing to do with Dan Wheldon, I didn’t know him, I know nothing about him … but it did get me thinking if it were to happen so suddenly to me what is left unfinished? Who have I treated the wrong way? Or left disappointed? Have I spent the time with my kids and left treasures in their hearts? My family? My wife? My friends?

Have I invested my time living in things worthwhile? Have I sown seeds that were worth harvesting? Or am I just leaving lots of weeds?

Well that was my train of thought … I’d literally never heard of Dan Wheldon until today, but his legacy left something for me that far outweighs any Indy championship.

14 responses to “The Last Word

  1. good post.. leaves us all with our thinking caps on. Lynda

  2. I like the line “am I just leaving lots of weeds?” Interestingly, at first pass I misread it as “am I just leaving lots of tweets?” It made me think of making sure that online connections are worthwhile, that we don’t just “lurk” around the edges but take time to engage, particularly with those emotionally close to us who may not live physically close to us. It’s the quality–as you’ve said.

    • Thanks Michael, love the angle of leaving tweets, this virtual world of anonymity can be devoid of true connections … working in such high speed all the time leaves little time to connect

  3. Beautiful post with plenty of food for thought. I thought it was very poignant that he and his wife had just had their names tattooed on each other’s wrists the night before the race.

  4. I didn’t know anything about him either, but I love the research you did and insights you found. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hi Corri,

    This was a wonderful piece. It never really dawned on me to check the last tweets of anyone who has passed and for DW’s final tweet to be one simple word is incredibly profound. So many things can be inferred as to what he was saying with that one word.
    Not only do we need to think about our headstones now…but also our last tweets.
    Made me think about my absence online and if, God forbid, any of those tweets or comments had become my last…what would they say about me? Would I leave the impression of someone on the periphery of the Twittersphere or someone who simply blog hops? Things that make you go hmmm…..

    • Hey Rachel, I know! It’s like a boat leaving a wake … there’s all this backwash in our lives that we’ll get around to clearing up ONE DAY! But if that day isn’t today then when is it?

  6. I appreciate the message you are giving out through this post. I think most people have a fear of mortality. Personally, I would like it to be quick, nothing too stretched out. Even though it might be untimely death, it would have less of an impact on my loved ones rather than me lying in bed for 2 years, hoping to get better. Perhaps I am a pessimist, but I think dealing with death is hardest thing to do. Btw, I heard about this on the news, sad story!

    • Hey Neeraj, interesting concept of whether a quick unannounced departure or a long drawn out one is preferable. The chance to say goodbye to loved ones and friends if death is announced vs the rapid exit. For me hope is a powerful thing and I’m guessing I’m an optimist 🙂 so believe I’d run with the chance of getting better? Though an interesting ponder! Thanks Neeraj

  7. Such a big loss for the world…

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