I was getting ready to post a Christmas blog when the unthinkable happened. It was Sunday morning at 3 am and I couldn't sleep. As I do so often when this happens, I opened up Facebook on my iPhone. I was immediately struck by some tragic news. Jeff Tourette had passed away. It affected me right away in disbelief and thought that it can't be true. I immediately scrolled down and realized that it was true. Thoughts racing through my mind of how could this happen. Jeff was one of those people that everyone who knew him, wanted to know more and get into his world. He had an impact on people. I will be honest, I didn't know Jeff really well, but I think this is the point I would like to make. I didn't need to know him well to know he was special! Even if you were someone that just met him, you knew that you wanted him in your circle. Now, a little history of Jeff and I. He lived just up the road from me growing up in Coquitlam B.C. 7 or 8 houses away. I was friends with his sister and he was older than me by a little bit. He was a protector! One of those people that gave you the impression that he would protect you at school if someone was after you. He made people feel safe! He was also pretty cool and well liked, so if you were his friend, you were IN.
Jump forward to a few years back. Jeff was the Facebook GOD! We connected again a few years back through Facebook and I enjoyed his posts more than any other! I couldn't always share them, being a good Baptist boy lol, but I was laughing all the way still. The posts were always funny and smart. He was good to me and really had a great heart. I don't know too much about his personal life, but I do know he experienced love, which is awesome! The problem with love, for people who really FEEL it, is that it can become "the meaning of life". I related to Jeff in this way as well, as he would often post things to Facebook and wear his heart on his sleeve. Recently I noticed that there was trouble on the home front and also that his posts were sad. I made a comment to look to your friends and music as that is truly what helps in those times. It was all I could do, being in Vancouver and after all, I didn't really have any insight but wanted to offer some encouragement, because I really related to the loss of someone close, especially when it is your best friend, it leaves a hole that is unfillable. Again, those who were close to him will know more, but I feel that my Christmas blog this year needs to be different. People are hurting everywhere and instead of Christmas being about gifts and busy stores, new cars and expensive dinners, I want to focus myself on saying thank you to Jeff for the laughs, his personality and the honesty. I like to think of Jeff as very typical for artists everywhere. The music was a big part of his life! I believe Jeff was in some great bands, starting here in the west coast! I was reflecting on this and realized that Jeff was very successful in music! just look at the mount of people he impacted! You know, if you are an artist and you impact ONE PERSON, you are successful. Jeff did far more than that though! My blog this Christmas, in light of this, is to say THANK YOU to the artists that I know and the ones that I don't. Without you, the world looks pretty drab! I could name a whole bunch of people here, but I don't have the space! The world to me, can be pretty backwards a lot of the time. We place borders to keep people in OR out. Rules to supposedly keep people safe. Some people get paid way too much and some not enough, but one thing is true. WE ARE ALL HUMAN. Respect to one another is deserved on that ONE aspect alone. Let's value our artists as much as our brain surgeon's. We are all on a journey. Jeff brought life to us through his music, so many artists just want to bring life and colour to the world. Please remember when you see an artist trying to make music, trying to improve their art form and trying to earn money to live from it. That SHOULD be respected. It takes guts to pursue something that so many try to discourage as not a viable avenue to make a living. You know, the real truth is that without music and the arts in general, as Winston Churchill said, when asked to cut funding to the arts, to ad money to the defence budget "then what are we fighting for"! Have a Merry Christmas EVERYONE, put the focus on being thankful no matter what, there is where you will find happiness. RIP Jeff Tourette!