Anakana Schofield – Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Yesterday I listened to Jack Layton get buried in French en route to and in the car park of a supermarket.

A woman sang Rise Up. I sat in a hot car surrounded by passing shopping trolleys.

It was desperately sad. Still it felt appropriate to be upset and mourn the loss of him amid getting on with the practicalities of the day.

Also, I recommend getting buried in French. Somehow it’s more satisfying.

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This week I also had cause to attend the Prostate Clinic. I learnt there are 10,000 patients at that VGH clinic.

I sat between 2 old men and felt pretty special. The place reminded me of Heathrow Airport.

I like my doctor very much and we both agreed it’s good I do not have a prostate.

I asked him how can we feel hopeful if Jack Layton who has full access to healthcare and appeared a fit, healthy man (to my eye) and excellent advocate for himself cannot survive it.

What hope is there for the man who smokes 40 a day and drinks a six pack and doesn’t go to the doctor? Says I.

They do die, he replied, you just don’t hear about them.

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There’s a live stream on CBC of members of the public in Toronto paying tribute to Jack Layton, who died this week.

It’s extraordinary, no words, 4 at a time they come forward stand by his casket they bow, pray, despair, the odd salute, comfort each other, very powerful stuff.

The plain people mourn the best, their body language and moments of stillness say so much.

Deeply moving to witness this.

Jack Layton

Death is such a blinder. It’s why I wrote the novel I did. Jack, Our Man, has died at 61.

Outside it’s a soaker of a day, grey and depleting. The weather pitch perfect in grief.

The PM, far from a poet, offers a limp remembrance, the people will out-articulate him on this, as they have so much else (except yet at the ballot box)

Politically it’s such a depressing time in this country, that Jack Layton’s death is like losing the goal keeper. Perhaps all deaths are like this. This being a more collectively felt one.