Perhaps it is my age, perhaps it is my understanding/perception of my own mortality, perhaps it is my ever growing appreciation of what friendship really means, perhaps I am simply caught up in a wave of collective Canadian consciousness.
Whatever the reason I have been deeply moved by The Tragically Hip’s farewell tour. I have tears in my eyes as I write this.
I must confess that I have never been a huge Hip fan, a few of their more popular tunes I really liked but had never bought an album, or a concert ticket. That said they wrote one of my favorite songs of all time “It’s a Good Life if You Don’t Weaken” which I have listened to more times than I could possibly count.
So through a cool bit of serendipity Cory and I got tickets to the Hips second sold out concert in Calgary on the eve of our 21st wedding Anniversary. The concert was amazing, you could even say surreal, the crowd, the emotion, the band giving it all…it was an honor to simply be there and share the farewell.
I could not shake the question of how would I cope in a similar situation?? Would I have the strength, courage the will to do what he is doing??
I would like to believe yes…but until one is faced with a situation like that who knows how each of us would really respond…
What I do know is that something deep in my soul resonates like a tuning fork in the presence of human greatness…
This resonation has been there my entire life and shows up at sometimes inopportune moments…my oldest son can hear it in my voice…and is quick to ask “Dad, are you crying?” I respond “Yes…”, and I do my best to use the moment to teach greatness to my boys.. “notice what just happened, watch the person displaying greatness, that moment right there…that is what makes the difference between average and amazing”. I believe they get it…
It happens everywhere,homeless people, Mom’s in the park playing with their kids, sports, business, music and it is there with Gord..
Good Lord it is there with Gord.
I left the concert, promising that I would do my best to articulate what I felt, hoped and imagined. It has turned out to be more difficult than I thought, thus this post 6 weeks after the concert.
I thought I would divide what I know and what I hope into 4 parts: Facts, Fiction, Fantasy and Vision
Gord has incurable brain cancer Glioblastoma
The band has been together for 30 plus years
Their final tour was done under the supervision of an oncologist AFTER brain surgery and Chemotherapy
Gord has started a research foundation https://donate.sunnybrook.ca/braincancerresearch which I would love and appreciate if anyone reading this would support…any amount is a recognition of Gord’s contribution
The final tour stuck a chord DEEP in the psyche of Canadians…
The final concert broadcast without commercials by the CBC was watched by 1/3 of ALL Canadians
How the band behaved and treated one another …it was genuinely beautiful…I loved watching how they interacted at the concert
Gord’s battle with Cancer continues…
Fiction (perhaps) – Things I would like to believe but may or may not be true:
The band are genuinely best friends and want the best for each other…
Gord was motivated by a handful of simple but powerful drives
1) His true love for his art
2) A desire to do what he could to support the band and his family while he could
3) He was committed to demonstrating courage, gratitude and love while he still can
4) Live what is left of his life being and doing what he loves with the people that matter most
Spontaneous remission somehow someway the tumor disappears…
A cure, technology solves it, for Gord and all others who suffer.
Failing that I hope…
– Gord’s family and bandmates are well taken care of and that they never have to worry about money and simple life mechanics…
– Gord and the band were as pleased and proud of the final tour as we as Canadians were
– That as a country we find a way to honor Gord and the band – The order of Canada perhaps…
That when I face my own certain death I will use Gord as a role model, a standard of going out being and doing what I love, and doing my best for my family, friends and my community.
Simple, clear & powerful.
In the meantime I am going to do my best to live my life consistent with the words of my favorite Hip song “It’s a Good Life If You Don’t Weaken’
“Let’s get friendship right
Get life day-to-day”
Thank you Gord & The Hip