Saturday, April 19, 2008

Farewell, Joseph Button, You Will Be Missed

I have put off posting this for a week now, but it's time. I just haven't been able to find the words to properly express what I wanted to. This is the second death that has taken me by surprise in just a few weeks, and after the first, it just took me a while to get my bearings.

Last Thursday, April 10th, Joseph Button passed away at the age of 24. Joe was a fellow comic creator who I had gotten to know, virtually, over the past year. He was a columnist for Silver Bullet Comics, writing film reviews in his Screenwriter column. He had approached Alan and myself about writing for the site, and we were both moved not only by his story, but also by his tremendous talent.

See, Joseph Button had a disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy from the age of one. Doctors said he wouldn't live past the age of two, but he made it all the way to 24. He was a paraplegic, and he lived his life mostly from his bed and in wheelchairs. In the past couple of years it had gotten so bad he couldn't even hold comics in his hands.

I say all this not to induce pity for the man, because he wouldn't have wanted that. Joe was a unique individual whose heart and mind were bigger than the capabilities of his being. He had so many dreams and aspirations, but unlike many of us he was actually actively pursuing them! He was involved with comics, screenwriting, and other business endeavors. Through the use of assistants and voice programs he was constantly writing, creating, hoping to achieve his dreams some day. He had lofty goals, but he was never afraid to reach for them. There were no limits as far as Joseph Button was concerned.

I was always amazed by the creativity and the raw, natural talent the man possessed. His writing was superb, and I'm surprised he wasn't already far more successful than he was. He had a knack for writing, and I will always cherish what little of his writing I had the honor to read.

Joseph Button was to be part of something myself and a few select others are starting up soon, and his writing would once again play a big part in my every day life. Now, unfortunately, we won't have the chance to work together again. We were also set to speak over headsets for the first time real soon, and now I won't have the privilege of doing that either.

But I'm not sad. Not because I don't miss him, or because I didn't know him as well as I would have liked, but because knowing him the short amount of time I did greatly enriched my life. If Joe, given his conditions, can so hungrily go after his dreams without regret and without retreat, how can someone as I who has all their faculties not do the same? Joseph Button inspired me to do more, to be more, to always reach and never stop. But more than that, Joseph Button was a friend, and one that I will dearly miss.

Today, Joe's family will not hold a typical funeral service, but will hold a celebration of Joe's life. He touched many, and his character outweighs even his accomplishments and talents. His family is proud of the man he was, and wishes to honor him as such. While I won't be there in person, I will respect their wishes and do the same.

If anyone who knew Joe would like to pay their respects and join his family in celebrating his life, the celebration will be held at the Button home today from 1-5pm.

From the Button Family:

Joe defied the odds and lived nearly 25 years with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a rare medical condition,
when doctors predicted he wouldn't live past age 2. He lived each day with enthusiasm and accomplished so much in life, always with the desire to help others. In death he chose to donate his body for medical research with the hope that something might be learned about his disease. We would like to continue Joe's wish of helping others and have created a memorial fund for those that would like to contribute in Joe's name.

Joseph Button Memorial Fund
c/o The Button Family

2748 Sharon Road

Jarrettsville, MD 21084

1 comment:

Ray said...

Brant I can't say anything very insightful here. Sorry you have lost a friend. Hope you are doing well.