I woke up this morning and after my shower instead of heading downstairs to find some underwear I went straight to my closet and put on my Hip shirt. I know that doesn’t sound like anything odd but I ALWAYS do shirt last, after a teeth brush and layer of deodorant so that I don’t get anything on the shirt. As I was looking through my shirts I also brushed past the shirt I had made for the last concert that reads “Here’s a glue guy, performance God…” and it was just enough to put it in my head. I walked back downstairs to brush singing “heaven is a better place today”.
I was in the movement room at work, alone, when my phone started blowing up. “Gord died…” was the first thing I read from Al and it hit me like a tonne of bricks. I just had trouble pulling it together. Then as other people started texting me it was just too much emotion. It was definitely a tough day working with kids. One woman I work with also loves the Hip and when I first met her we were both wearing Hip gear. I was the one who told her when she got in this morning and her eye’s just welled up and she went straight to the phone to call her husband. The impact of it all was just so HARD, HUGE, and HAUNTING.
I tried hard to compose myself throughout the day but it was hard. One text I received said:
“sad day – I was thinking of you this morning. Great memories – thank you for bringing the Hip into my life!”
Back to square one. I just kept telling myself that Tom Petty died just a few days ago and I don’t remember any grown men walking around the office all welled up. Pull it together man, I kept telling myself. Then I read the obituary on Maclean’s – that was a mistake.
What I realized was that it wasn’t just about the passing of an amazing man. A man I feel some kind of personal connection to that I have never met. I realized it’s about all of you. All of the people who share this music with me and the memories that pop into my head when I hear it. The concerts, the road trips, the parties, the clubs, the camping, the hockey, the socials, the weddings, the friendships…all of it.
It’s the knowledge that today is the day the music died. Literally. What I can only explain as the soundtrack to my life now has a beginning and an end. I know that the music lives on but it makes me sad to think about the flame that brought so much happiness to my life has gone dark. Knowing that I will never again sit in an arena and see Gord live weakens my will a little. I can clearly remember them all and never wanting that feeling to end. Even just sitting in my car alone and cranking it up – it could never get loud enough, no number on a dial could ever explain it.
So that’s what I did on my way to pick up the kids after school. Got lost in it.
When Shan got home we asked GOOGLE to play some HIP and opened up a bottle of wine I never thought there would be an occasion for. We drank for Gord – and then Al came over and we all drank for Gord, just as we have so many times before.
RIP Gord Downie – Thank you for everything.