I didn’t know Jack. Not really. Not any better than most Canadians.
I worked in his office from 2008 until he died. I worked two central campaigns and attended two national conventions. I met him a handful of times. I can think of six or seven.
The last time I saw him he was out on the dance floor with Olivia at the Vancouver convention. Smiling, dancing with his wife, still celebrated the party’s amazing breakthrough.
The times I will cherish is the day, at the end of the session, that he brought all the staff from the leader’s office together. I got to attend two such meetings. He gathered us in a room and asked us what we thought about what had just happened. He asked us about our experiences of the session and then he sat back and listened.
I’ve heard many people say that when Jack spoke to you he made you feel like you were the only person in the room and this was my experience. When he spoke to a room he held everyone’s attention.
And then there’s Olivia.
Olivia may be the definition of strength. I was a little scared of her when I was at work. She is very straightforward and direct. She doesn’t like her time to be wasted. She is passionate and the love between the two of them was palpable. I wish I had half of Olivia’s strength and drive.
Today, Wednesday, marks one year. I remember the day exactly. I remember seeing the press release on my Blackberry, I remember telling my mother and calling my husband. I called my sister and she answered the phone by saying ‘So it’s true?’
I went downtown desperate to be with my co-workers, but once I got there I was in the way, totally useless. My daughter had a doctor’s appointment, but when it was done we went down to the Hill. I broke down in tears. I saw people I knew along the street and got hugged. I tried to explain to my daughter, then just a year and a half old, that something very important had just happened, that a very special man was gone.
That night I went to the candlelight vigil and saw all the people I worked with. There was silence. It just didn’t make sense and it couldn’t possibly be real.
A year has past and it still doesn’t make sense. I still follow him on Twitter, I still have his phone number in my contacts. I still see a great picture and cry at the realization that he’s gone. I didn’t know I could miss a man so much when I only met him a handful of times. Now we have only his legacy, and I strive to make him proud.
Let Us Be Loving, Hopeful and Optimistic