Sunday, August 28, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Jack: The Video

I almost missed Jack's funeral. But luckily I didn't because it was a true gathering of the clan... or the Jack Nation.

And though it was of course a sad occasion because he was taken too young. It was also a chance to celebrate his life. And we sure did.

I wish I could say more, but I'm too tired. And besides somebody told me the other day that I write too much.

So here's a little video I made to give you an idea of what it was like to be there...

When it was over I was lifted by all that love, but I also felt sad and empty because now I know he's really gone. And beyond everything else it's such a horrible tragedy. Why Jack? Why now? How could this happen when we needed hope so badly?

But I'll never forget what Stephen Lewis said.

To hear so many Canadians speak so open-heartedly of love, to see young and old take chalk in hand to write without embarrassment of hope, or hang banners from overpasses to express their grief and loss. It's astonishing.

Inevitably, we fastened on those last memorable lines about hope, optimism and love. But the letter was, at its heart, a manifesto for social democracy.

Just like I'll never forget what his son said about how the best dreams are those that are bigger than your life.

And Stephen Page's magnificent Hallelujah.

Hallelujah for Jack Layton. For bringing hope to Canada like rain to a desert.

Will this recovered hope shrivel away in the light of day? Maybe.

But tonight the CN Tower is glowing orange. Everything seems possible.

Jack Layton is gone forever.

But his spirit marches on...


  1. It was simply amazing - Jack just had so much "grace" - and he left with grace, a so classy guy who left us a roadmap and the torch.

  2. martin4:58 PM


    You do NOT write too much. I look forward to your blog every day and admire your dedication to your philosophy and outlook. Harper scares me, too.

    One of the best moments of the service to me was when Stephen Lewis (magnificent orator) talked about Jack's manifesto to social democracy. I wondered if (and probably hoped that) this made Harper squirm.

    I also found it wonderful to see the assembled Canadian political elites at a service conducted by a married gay minister. There are not many countries where that would or could happen.

  3. Thankyou!
    The CBC coverage didnot show all these people walking/marching along plus the stiltwalkers

  4. hi Jan...Yes, I still have trouble believing he's gone. Although I could see he was desperately ill, his death was such a shock. But after seeing the City Hall memorial, and joining in the march to Roy Thompson Hall, I feel very hopeful and grateful...

  5. hi Martin...thank you so much. What a lovely thing to say. I think my friend was trying to say that I'm too wordy, and that my posts are too long. Especially in the Twitter Age where our attentions spans now rival those of houseflies. ;)
    But here's the thing...I blog because I enjoy writing, like other people like playing the piano. Just for the hell of it. So I don't think I want to change even if I could.
    And of course the more rude words I can direct in the general direction of the Harper Regime the better. :)
    And you're right about Stephen Lewis and the gay minister. It's been hard to be proud to be a Canadian recently, but last week it was much easier...

  6. hi Oemissions...thanks a lot. That's what I wanted to show, not the moving ceremony, but the faces of that wonderfully diverse crowd that turned out to say thank you one last time.
    Now that I've got Stephen Lewis' powerful speech, and Stephen Page's amazing Hallelujah, in my video vault, I have a feeling I may soon be making a new video... ;)

  7. I also have self-diagnosed ADD and I don't think your blog is too long, probably because you write really "grabbily".

    And thanks for the video. <3