Why the Loss of Gord Downie Still Hurts So Hard.
We knew it was coming yet I still wasn’t ready for it.
My heart feels heavy. I have had a good cry. I’ve listened all morning to the Hip. I ate some chocolate cake (because sadness) but I am also feeling very at peace over the passing of Gord Downie.
In his life and his presence, he was magic. An absolute gift. The generosity of his spirit extends in his exit, because somehow he has left us with a gift of knowing that he was peaceful in his end.
The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship
Many talk about The Hip as a big part of our formative years. They came into our world at the exact point in time that we were doing our best to figure it all out.
But really, they have been lifelong friends.
3 decades spanned our relationship and every time we needed a pal, they would show up at the door and with their own special kind of awesome that whatever situation you were in, would just make you feel better.
Songs mark the passages of time
Wheat Kings and At The Hundredth Meridian were my favourite songs to listen to as we road tripped along the Trans-Canada. Growing up in Manitoba, they held special places in my heart. Gord’s lyrics honoured the majesty of our prairies and made me proud to be a prairie girl. He painted pictures with his songs and when he talked of home, it was everything.
Bobcaygeon, Grace, Too and Long Time Running could equally be the perfect companion to a Duncan Hines Deep and Delicious break up cry session or start a weekend morning off perfectly. They’d just come hang out and chill. They would give you whatever you required for the day to go on with a positive light.
Blow At High Dough and New Orleans is Sinking will be highlights forever in my heart. The anthem of our youth. Of all of us (at the A, or Monty’s, or whatever your university local was) on the dance floor, jumping, grooving, shouting, rocking out, screaming at the top of our lungs and feeling, really FEELING every bit of every ounce of the music. Life couldn’t have been better in those moments.
Ahead By A Century was a big part of growing up but it came to mean so much more this past year. We are at an age and stage in our lives where loss (of family & friends) has become a very real on-going occurrence. There is no other song that kicks you in the ass to live life as big, as fully and as completely as we can.
There is no dress rehearsal, this is our life.
There are songs of the Hip that wrap you up like a warm, fuzzy blanket; there are ones that flow through your body like a prairie fire; there are ones that make sense of it all and there are ones that make no sense at all.
We knew it was coming. We just hoped it never would.
We all have our special memories of Gord Downie. He made us feel like we were friends. Last year, as a country united (in love & peace) we embraced him with all our might. We stood in gratitude, we cried, we lived.
Gord and the music of the Tragically Hip made you FEEL good. What Gord did for so many of us was also inspire us to want to DO good. He was a genuinely GOOD person. That could be a big part of why this loss feels so deep.
His work in the latter part of his life, creating awareness & pushing for reconciliation with our indigenous communities is a legacy that we all can honour. If you are looking to support this initiative, watch the Secret Path or donate to the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund to help carry on this valuable work.
Fiddler’s Green was a song Gord wrote for his nephew who had passed away to ease his sister’s pain. I can’t help thinking that now he is with his nephew Charles, Chanie and so many others waiting to see him in the afterlife and somehow that eases mine a bit.
My heart goes out to all of Gord’s family, friends and fans who adored him so. I hope whatever Hip playlist you are playing provides you with a little solace and comfort in remembering such a beautiful soul.
For now, he will forever be to all of us the man who walks among the stars.