Life has taken some really cool people from this earth recently… Tom Petty… and our national treasure, Gord Downie. Men I never met, but absolutely respected and adored. Solid musicians. Life never takes the arseholes, it seems… takes the good ones away more often than I’d like it to. I don’t know why that is, and I doubt I ever will. Though I do believe people leave when they’re meant to, they’ve taught and shared all they could and off they must go.
To infinity and beyond.
I was hoping to see a friend tonight, but ended up staying at home and catching a documentary called Long Time Running about the last year that Gord Downie’s band The Tragically Hip toured together. Gord had been diagnosed with brain cancer. This is how he chose to live his remaining days, sharing his heart with his fellow Canadians. I had learned he was not well when my own documentary, No Responders Left Behind, had started filming in May 2016. A friend I made on that journey, Ray, was to be diagnosed with brain cancer shortly after Gord. Both lived their remaining days with grace, not letting everyone in on how much pain they were in. The pain was there, yes. But the love emitting from us just gave them… something back.
I can only imagine when you get news as they did that, if you’re strong enough, you must sit back and go “okay- let’s enjoy every thing, every day, every one person who comes my way”. There’s a, I don’t know if peace is the right word, but I guess there’s a letting go that all the meditation I do still hasn’t given me. That ahhhhhhh…. you let go of the crap, and embrace the good.
But knowing what Ray experienced, and his family experienced, gave me the smallest glimpse into what Gord and his family must have gone through. Or my friend Ana-Alecia’s battle with cancer and how that affected those of us who loved her… man, I admired her strength. Man, I wish I could have made her cancer go away.
What I loved about the documentary I watched tonight is that it brought back memories with the songs I heard, and for those 90 minutes Gord was back. He was in my living room. He was here. Just like when I watch footage from my film, there Ray is. Talking. Present. There with me as I take notes and listen. I spent a good portion of my teen years thinking I’d become a music video director, the videos I saw by The Tragically Hip influenced me greatly… but then my life took me in a different direction and I forgot for a little while that I loved to tell stories and create. But I’m back where I am supposed to have been all along… telling stories… telling Ray’s story…
As much as I believe that people go when they’ve taught all they can teach, I don’t believe that people ever leave us. They’re there, on film, in photos, in song… ready for when we need them.
I’ll leave you with In View, one of many Hip songs I really dig. And it’s a video set in NYC. My worlds collide. 😉