Killer Whale Tank… Grace, Too


As I sit here, watching “That Night in Toronto”; from the “Hipeponymous” limited edition box collection. I find myself stuck somewhere in the middle of something more.

Though the origins of how I claimed this four-set DVD already makes it a prized possession of mine. Today… it become even more valued, and prized.

When my sister passed away, there were no silver linings to be had, or found. None.   I always admired my sister’s taste in art, and in music. So I tried to mimic her interests as much as I could, with than came my love for certain musicians, and artists. Matthew Good, Tragically Hip, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Tool…etc. I first listened to these bands, because Jen listened to them. I think my mom, though she listened to the same stuff, she was aware that I was too picking up on the same things. I can remember when she was cleaning out Jens room…

 As an aside… Damnit, God bless that woman for having the strength to clean out the left behind remains of your own daughters room. I can’t even fathom. I can’t. The few times I’ve seen the doorway to her room since she’s left… it’s incredibly difficult. I won’t even try to find words to articulate what this is really like. I used to go in there and ask her about the pictures she had, what book she was reading, what albums she was into… Now… It just kind of… sit’s there. Door half closed. Stickers removed. What once lived? It’s hard. I think that’s why my mother is without a doubt, one of the single strongest people on the planet, and so admirable.

Anyway… I can half recall finding this black book like thing shortly after Jen’s passing. I pulled it out to see what it was. Almost looking like a bible, graceful, elegant cover. Gold images of doves, and inbetween it read “The Tragically Hip”. Opening this book, I see the contents of four DVDs – “Hipeponymous”.   I knew just where it came from. I wanted this.

“Mom… Can…. I umm… have this?”

“Yes, just please take care of it. That was Jens”

I can remember this as one of the single best days of my life following the passing of my big sister. I still, to this day can smell the cover of this book, and it brings back the scent of my sister. So, to this day… I have taken care of this item more than I have ever cared for anything in my life. Between this boxset, and an old hoodie of Jens, I keep in a separate closet, hung up by itself. It’s some of the few items I have that I can still almost smell her. Maybe that sounds weird, I don’t know. But, when you lose someone… as time goes, all you want is to hear their laugh, their voice, and to remember that smell that every person has. Well, this boxset somehow can still give me a little bit of that. As a result, it remains… a prized, sacred possession.

So… As I sit here now tonight, 11:20pm on a weekday… I look beyond the screen of this computer, and I see one of the most incredible musicians perform…. “Quickly… follow the unknown!”

My heart broke this morning when I read the news about Gord Downie. I don’t even know the man, but I swear… I felt like I had lost someone who was by my side. I have spent hours, by myself, with friends belting out the lyrics to “Little Bones” and many other classics. So many songs bring me back to a better day when my Mom, Jen and I would cruise down the highway to Victoria. Listening to “The Hip”. Or, when my mom would drive me across NE Alberta for hockey, blasting “The Hip” out of the explorer.

I grew up… with Gord and “The Hip”. As close as I feel to Matthew Good and his music, which has been well documented, Gord Downie and the Hip are a right there.  I think, and I hope that I do speak for millions of Canadians when I speak of The Hip having such a positive impact on my childhood, and my life today.

I can hardly imagine a life without the Tragically Hip, and I can hardly imagine a life without Gord Downie. This has been a horrific year for musicians, and the loss of all of them have hit me differently, but… this one… for me is different. Almost personal. My heart broke today. Fully Completely.   Broke.

I know upstairs… Jen is just putting together a concert for the ages. It’s the only thing that’s providing me solace through the seemingly bi-weekly news of another terrific musician lost. And, while… Gord is still with us today…

I just… I hope I can see him one more time before she does…

All the best to Mr. Downie and his family.

… Also… anyone that reads this… I have a few Hip Live DVDs.  I’d love to just flop over on the couch with a 6pack and watch if you want to join.  Anytime.