We received some very sad news this past week about the death of Chris Lukaszewski, a very good and old friend of the band. He was a gentle and empathetic soul of which there are far too few these days.
Before there were any “official” llamas, there was Chris. Over the past fifteen years he appeared at many of our gigs around Southern Ontario and he always brought his camera and prints of the photos that he had taken at the previous gig. It wasn’t unusual for Chris to show up at a gig bearing gifts: snow-globes with pictures of each of us (that he had taken) encased inside; homemade Christmas ornaments; and one of his most imaginative gifts was a Scrabble board on which he glued all of the tiles, like it was a completed game, and every word was from one of our song titles. All of these gifts and more have been proudly displayed in our studio for the last ten years. Chris loved words. He once gave me a beautifully written children’s book, Black Sky River. The book centers on a childhood memory of watching the annual bird migration and of the town’s attempt to kill off the birds because they were deemed a nuisance, too noisy, too messy. Between each page he had inserted small slips of paper, and on each piece of paper he had typed a line from Small Swift Birds: the song, the narrative and the images danced along, hand-in-hand as you turned the pages. He told me his favourite line from the book was, “I miss the mystery, the wondering of things without beginnings, without end.” I can’t remember if I ever had the chance or took the time to properly thank him for his gift and to tell him how truly beautiful and inspiring I thought it was. But the greatest gift that Chris gave to us was his attention to our music. He listened and it, in turn, inspired him to create and, if you’re a musician, you really can’t ask for a better gift than that. He bought a ticket for this week’s Toronto show; we will be thinking of him as we play. He will be missed.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 at 7:55 pm and is filed under news. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
My condolences on your loss.
It has been some time since I ran into Chris at a show (Belleville??) and was looking forward to seeing him again. He was a gentle man who thought my name was Marsha and had a bit of a time wrapping his head the fact that it wasn’t. So I became Marsha… to him.
Thinking about him now is making me smile. That’s not a bad legacy. Not bad at all.
I’ve always enjoyed Chris’s company at Junkies shows. So sad to hear this news.
So now he’s joined with the ranks of the small, swift birds you wrote about… what a beautiful thing to give musicians that clearly touched his life, to become part of their song. Condolences.
I met Chris at many shows and he shared some of his beautiful photos of the band with me. It was always a pleasure talking about the hilights with him after the show. He was one of the faces that I would look for at the shows. He is missed.
sorry to hear of your loss.
it says a lot about you that you have fans and friends such as chris.
it says much more that you are aware of, appreciate acknowledge them.
peace to all.
Chris’s photos have long adorned the walls of my home. He was generous and has given me many over the years. I displayed my favorites,thinking I would change them periodically as I tired of them. Most have been in place for over ten years,and I have not tired of them yet. It’s difficult to understand the passing of someone so young,and always leaves you asking the question WHY? With Chris,I think it’s that he was given a huge load of compassion to give away as his life’s work. He was so good at distributing his compassion that he finished his job early.
I met Chris while waiting in line for a show the Junkies did at the Phoenix Theater on December 15th, 1998. It was the start of a wonderful friendship that included many other shows in the subsequent years; we had tickets to attend the show last Friday together. I have to thank the band for their wonderful tribute. Chris was a remarkable person. He was thoughtful, kind, compassionate, and generous. He also had a keen intellect and, as Mike said in his post, words were very important to him; he was an avid reader and paid keen attention to the band’s lyrics as a result. Most of all, however, he cared for people. It is this kindness and generosity of spirit that I will most remember him for. It is understood that when someone passes away one looks past their shortcomings. In Chris’s case, we do not have to do that. He was absolutely genuine, very giving, passionate about what and who he cared for. He felt guilty on those rare days when he couldn’t call in to see his mother. He was completely non-materialistic and lived very simply. Most of his possessions were books, which were viscerally important to him. The world needs more people like that, which makes his untimely passing all the more tragic. He shall be truly missed.
I was honored to be among friends of Chris at the last show Chris was to attend. It was a heart-breakingly beautiful concert. It was also a very special honor of mine to have been able to touch the bust of Margo – now don’t get the wrong idea – it was a bust that Chris had made out of clay. I heard the stories of how he would steal away what ever time he could to feverishly work on his most important project. To hold it in my hands and feel every curve he lovingly made was a real pleasure. Although I haven’t seen all the other gifts – I would guess, this might be the best! Love to all who knew Chris & Thank you so much Cowboy Junkies,for giving this fabulous dedication, moving concert and for giving Chris so many hours of rapturous listening pleasure from your music.
Peace Out xoxoxo
Thank you for your tribute to Chris. He is/was an amazing man,friend and collegue!! Your band brought spirit to his soul and that will always live on!! Thank you again for taking the time to honour such a wonderful man and a dedicated follower.Your music with Chris allowed spirits to be intertwined and shared with many !! Thank you again. He will ALWAYS be part of our life!
I had a great ’70s. I survived it, and that’s always good news.