The Love and Loss of Icons

The Tragically Hip Courage

The hits keep coming. Just when I think I’ve passed a crisis, there’s another hit. First the devastation of 2016. David Bowie, Lenny, Prince, Leonard Cohen. 2017 isn’t looking much better. Tom Petty and Gord Downie. How many icons are we going to lose before this decade ends?

At one point during the past year and half, I seriously wondered, are we even going to survive this decade? I couldn’t answer that, so I just kept going. So many ups and downs. Good days and bad days. Yes, we’ll survive. Or maybe we won’t. I don’t know.

It’s hard to express what an icon means to one individual. One anonymous face in a vast sea of fans. I have seen so many articles, each expressing different experiences. I could relate to a lot, and some, not so much. It seemed too varied. There wasn’t a common thread, except for loss.

When Gord Downie passed away, it hit me just as hard as David Bowie, and I didn’t know why. I was never a huge Hip fan. I didn’t attend every show. But still, I could feel a massive chunk of Canadian culture just ripped away. That’s the worst part about loss. You can’t really know you’ve lost anything until after it’s gone.

So I read all the articles, watched all the interviews, scanned Twitter comments, trying to find something, anything, that would make sense out of this tragic decade.

There was a Twitter comment about how The Tragically Hip’s album Fully Completely taught more about history than all of high school combined. I remember that. I remember it all too well. It couldn’t be a truer statement. The comment reminded me of the Kate Bush tribute to David Bowie. “He was ours,” she wrote.

It might be a different person, a different place, or time, but the loss is ours.

Icons are Ours

We do all have something in common, I realized. That’s what icons do for us. They create the opportunity to express everything, build memories,  and give us an answer to to our questions.

Our fears, hope, and dreams.

Our history and culture.

So, without icons to give us the answer, what do we do now that everything is sinking all around us?

The answer came lightning fast and pure.


Read another tribute post.

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