We knew it was coming sooner or later. We knew it was likely sooner than later. We said our goodbyes as you toured our country one final time. We tuned into your last ever performance on televisions from coast to coast to coast. We hyped ourselves up for that last hoorah by listening to nothing but The Hip for days leading up to it. We watched as you were honoured with the Order of Canada. We felt our spines tingle as you were gifted an eagle feather and a new name - "The Man Who Walks Among the Stars". We felt a turning point in our history as a nation when you spent many of your final days visiting remote Northern First Nations communities, and when you chose to use your voice to tell the stories of Chanie Wenjack and to amplify the voices of our Indigenous peoples.
We spent our childhoods and our teenage years rocking out to your biggest hits, not fully realizing the impact that those words had on our identity, as individuals, and as a nation. We spent our adult years developing a deeper appreciation and understanding of your words, learning more about ourselves, our country and our land with every listen.
We spent the last year and a half knowing we were going to have say goodbye. Knowing this day was going to come. Thinking we were going to be ready for it.
But I wasn't. Many of us weren't. The first thing I saw this morning was a statement from your loving family, breaking the news to the rest of us. I felt my stomach drop. I felt the air go out of my lungs. I felt the first tears begin to form in the pits of my eyes. And I felt the country that I love lose a little piece of its heart. There will forever be a Gord Downie shaped hole in the hearts and lives of Canadians.
We love you. We miss you. Rest in peace, Gord Downie. Canada's Poet. It's been a pleasure doing business with you.