I got myself into some trouble a couple of days ago when Tragically Hip lead singer Gord Downie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. I tweeted that I didn’t consider it as “breaking news,” but “breaking entertainment news”.
And I know how crass that sounds given the role the Tragically Hip have played in this country’s culture, and music scene. But it’s perspective. Cancer as an illness is universal-it doesn’t matter your gender, race, religion, age, marriage status, sexual preferences or profession. We’ve all lost friends, and family to it or know someone who goes through treatment. To be diagnosed as “terminal” is as bad as you can get.
In Downie’s case terminal doesn’t mean he’ll die right away. The doctors say he’s responding well to treatment- so well that he has an 11-date tour with the band. He could continue ‘responding well’ for another year, or he could die out on tour. It’s unpredictable.
What matters, or what should matter is this time. Instead of choosing to retire quietly spending his remaining time with his young family, he chooses to tour. He chooses to give his fans, and this country one final chance to say goodbye. I don’t know if we all appreciate that gift. To say farewell to someone you loved- tell them you love them a final time is priceless. Do we realize how rare this is?
Focus on now. Focus on the music, the tour, the album because that’s what matters.