1 Sep 2011
How has your summer been? It seems to have come and gone so quickly for me. For me, it's been hot and fun!
I did not take any stretch of days off but had "created" some long weekends for myself. Back in June, Larry and I went to Wasaga Beach for the weekend. We also went to Collingwood in August. I love road trips - even better when someone else drives and I get to enjoy the scenery and even grab my camera or Blackberry to take photos.
Road trips remind me of life. We are on a a road trip starting at birth. Throughout the course of our lives, we take some detours along the way. Some detours are fun, some are dangerous, some are exhilarating, some are silly, some are sad, and in the end, we fade into the universe and our next road trip continues.
Like many Canadians, I was sad to learn of the death of Jack Layton, an admirable and respected politician, whose charisma, compassion and passion brought his leadership of the New Democratic Party to new heights. Sadly, his life was cut short after battling cancer - one of the most saddest and painful detours in life. He survived the first time, but, not the second. I learned so much more about his life only after his death. From what I have seen and heard of Jack's speeches, interviews, testimonials from colleagues, family, and strangers he had touched, it is so obvious that not only will we miss the politician, most of all, we will miss the man who gave so much to his family and to his country.
When I read Jack's letter to Canadians, composed literally within days before his death, it really impressed me. Most of the time, you hear about letters written when someone decides to commit suicide. This was not the case here, although it was written at death's door. In Jack's final letter, he had plans - still thinking about the future and well-being of those he would leave behind. He tried to encourage his Party and all Canadians. During his funeral, the eulogy by Stephen Lewis (politician, diplomat, former leader of the Ontario NDP) and sermon by Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes (senior pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto) ended with Jack's own final thought: "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." (See Jack Layton's entire letter: www.ndp.ca/letter-to-canadians-from-jack-layton)
I went to Toronto City Hall the day before Jack's funeral which took place on Saturday, August 27th. Many people came out to write a message of condolescence, leave flowers, write a chalk message at Nathan Phillips Square in front of Toronto's City Hall. That Friday, streams of people lined up to visit Jack's casket, lying inside City Hall as well. I signed the book of condolences iand also wandered around and read some remarkable chalk written tributes on the walls, columns and on the ground. There was such an overwhelming number of messages - not just from Canadians and not all in English. I can only imagine how anyone who knew Jack personally would have felt.
We are all on our own road trip with detours along the way. We are not all on the same road, but, our paths may cross. If you are on my KaTsZoNe mailing list, our roads have crossed at some point. We may have taken some detours together - some were smooth, some were rough, some were fun, and some were inspiring. We came into each other's lives for a reason. Let's enjoy more detours together and see where our roads will lead. I'll even let you drive sometimes! Here on KatsZoNe, I'll drive!
Since reading Jack's wonderful letter, I am wondering about a final letter which I could leave for my friends and family. I hope it would be as inspiring as Jack's letter. I think my letter will hopefully be inspiring, make you think, make you laugh, make you go back to old episodes of KaTsZoNe (if you've kept them) or go to www.katszone.com/newsletter.html to reminisce. Hey, I plan to stick around for a long while, but, why wait until I have crossed over to another world? This is my plug for re-reading past issues of KaTsZoNe! Perhaps, I won't need to write just one final letter. I have already written many, with all of you in mind.
Don't forget to check my Calendar of Events at www.katszone.com/page/page/6673173.htm from time to time.
In memory of Jack Layton, I repeat his final words, "Be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And, we'll change the world." See you again in October!
Calendar of Events: www.katszone.com/page/page/6673173.htm
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Jack Layton's letter to Canadians:
Transcript of eulogies by Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes, Sarah and Michael Layton: