It has been a horrific week already for me in Ontario, and I find I am actually too shocked to work properly.
Having spent so many years with Jack Layton on our political skyline, I feel as if the CN Tower has been knocked out of my life! This vibrant, cheerful, thoughtful, mustachioed, bicycling gent will no longer pop up on my TV screen or monitor with upcoming news... in memorium, but not in person.
It's incredible, given my experience with friends and family who have had cancer, survived cancer, not survived cancer, that I should have been surprised when this second bout of cancer turned out to be highly aggressive and resistant. It has only been about 4 months since Jack stepped aside to focus on his health issues. I was sure that with his bounce-back personality, he would soon be taking back the reins.
But no. There will be no more Jack in our face, in our daily lives. Unless.. we take to heart what he was trying to show us... That our country is worth fighting for, worth trying to change, and that each of us can make a difference, especially when each of our small efforts are joined with those of others. After all, an ocean is only many droplets of water. No drop ever started out thinking it would be part of the ocean. Most of them started as a rain drop on a leaf somewhere or a melting bit of snow. But something happened as that drop of meltwater slid away from its glacier, it stopped identifying with the old way and started a new life as part of a stream, then a river, and finally an ocean.
The best way to change anything is to face the way you mean to go and take a step. Then take another.
The greatest legacy a person can leave is to have taught someone something. Thank you Jack for teaching us so many good things~ not just as an actual classroom teacher, but in the classroom of life. That our country is great, our True North, strong and free. That our people are beautiful and worthwhile. That there is a peaceful way to accomplish things.
Rest in peace, may we meet at last on Resurrection Morning.
Condolences and deepest sympathy to the family and friends, constituents and compatriots of this dear man.