Jolly old Jack…

Jack Layton is dead.

I just watched a 2.5hr funeral ceremony that was filmed yesterday — live. I entertained thoughts of going down to City Hall and then over to Roy Thompson Hall (where the actual public funeral was held), but was feeling far too vulnerable and emotionally/physically weak to take on that kind of intense emotional load.

Jack died last Monday. He was only 61. While I have all but given up on Canadian politics a few years ago now (why? I was a card-carrying NDP-er for awhile back in 2003/04), this event really shook me.

Not initially, either, but over a few days — which seems to be the way with me as of late: Delayed Reaction.

(as of late might actually go back several years at this point)

Anyway…

Not for the politics, but for the humanity associated with Jack. I’ve always really liked his energy, and his work towards so many valuable implementations in policy,etc. can only be well appreciated when strung together in a series of stunning visual montages and snappy eulogies, as evidenced just a few hours ago.

I read Jack’s book back in the summer of 2004, and was really impressed. My hope is that the ‘vibe’ created in the wake of his passing — one of bipartisan goodwill and a shared desire for civil discourse to return to politics — will take root and not be fleeting.

His last letter had a very beautiful closing sentence, and while I can’t remember it verbatim, the sentiment goes like this:

“Love is better than anger, hope is better than fear,and optimism is better than despair… so let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic… and we’ll change the world.”

I’ve been touched deeply. Moved.

Not in an overt way, but rather, maybe a gentle nudge back the way I came from: after all, lately I’ve been asking the question:

“where and when did I lose my way? Did I actually “lose” my way, or have I simply changed it… or how can I hope to “arrive” at some hopeful future situation?”

These are great questions.

The answers are still forthcoming.

You feel like an old friend, Jack (the games of pool at The Rivoli not withstanding!)

This is a widely shared sentiment, I know, but I just had to say it:

I hope/wish for a better future for all of us. Thanks to you, that’s possible.

Go well, friend.

Jack Layton: 1950-2011

 

Jon Mychal / Toronto — Aug 28 2011

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About Jon Mychal

Left-leaning, anti-theistic 'Mo Fo'TM.

"He's a high-toned son of a bitch!" ~ George Stark

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