“I feel so gentle that the Lord seeps in”

John Mann of Spirit of the West, playing guitar live in a dark image with red glow in the foreground and blue glow in the background

Photo by Jackie M., from Surrey’s Party for the Planet 2011, found on flickr.com; CC BY-ND 2.0

It was news we knew was coming. John Mann went public with his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease in 2014 and, like Gord Downie and his glioblastoma, we knew there was only one way this was going to end. Also like Downie, he endured with music and performance as long as he could. Fans were grateful, and their courage cheered us. A positive note to a terribly sad song.

It was just as I was clearing up breakfast this morning after everyone had darted off to school that I saw the notes of tribute on Facebook. All my friends from high school sharing videos and memories. Spirit of the West was not my favourite band at the time, but they were cherished and important. We were richer to have heard them and we’re sadder now that John Mann is gone. Continue reading