Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Although I am of an earlier time musically, and cannot say that outside of about two songs I am familiar with the Tragically Hip's oeuvre, I watched almost all of last night's concert from Kingston, televised by the CBC. I watched because I wanted to see how a man deals with the knowledge of impending death, and I wanted to partake in something that, no matter where we live, links all of us together. The latter is a fact that the CBC clearly recognized, broadcasting the show entirely commercial free, doing exactly what a public broadcaster should do, promoting the kind of experience that unites a country, breaking down some of the silly barriers that separate far too many of us.
Like Gord Downie, my brother-in-law suffered from glioblastoma, succumbing to the disease almost eight years ago. He lived the last year of his life with grace, refusing to succumb to the kind of self-pity that I think many of us would be all too prone to. And like my brother-in-law, Gord Downie showed the same resilience and strength of spirit in his final performance. He showed us what dying with dignity really means; he showed us the awesome strength that human beings can muster in the face of tragedy.
What he is contending with is perhaps epitomized here:
So I watched to be part of a pan-Canadian event, and I watched, not out of morbid curiosity or disrespect for the man's mortality, but to take a lesson in living life until the end. May I have at least a small amount of Downie's fortitude, class and strength of spirit when my time comes.