I find myself in the unusual position of being speechless. Or rather, in this case, of being at a loss for words.
Chris Hyndman was, to most, a daytime talk-show host, one-half of CBC’s mega-hit, Steven and Chris. He was a ball of kinetic energy wrapped in a stylish exterior. With perfect hair, eyes, and teeth, of course.
In our house he will forever be referred to as “Chrissy”. My late-father-in-law, John Fisher, is responsible for that. Dad spent the last five years of his life fighting emphysema and as a result, spent far too much time in bed or in his easy chair. For Dad, television became a vital link to the outside world. It was his lifeline, source of entertainment and enlightenment, and sometimes, his reason to get up in the morning.
And Chrissy – along with the cast of Murdoch Mysteries – was at the top of Dad’s “Must-See TV” list.
Every weekday at two pm, Dad couldn’t stop laughing – even to the detriment of his health – whenever Chrissy found himself outmatched by a power drill, a wild animal or pretty much anything under the sun. He may have been the comic relief, but Chris Hyndman was laughing louder than any of us. And so the audience loved him. They didn’t see a klutzy gay man with love in his eyes for his partner, they saw a man with a natural gift for performing. They saw a man with an innate flair for fashion, design, both interior and exterior, and the coolest crafts the mind could conceive. Above all, they saw a man who loved to please others.
My father-in-law was the greatest man I ever knew. The very fact that Chris Hyndman filled his last years with such joy made him my hero.
My family met Steven Sabados and Chrissy once; it was years ago, backstage after a taping of their show. The show’s warm-up man – one member of the most talented crew in CBC’s storied history – was happy to allow us to present the guys with a copy of my book. On one condition.
“The Boys will be happy to see you now, but they’ve changed out of their work clothes and so you can’t photograph them in their sweats!”
We chuckled and readily agreed. They were as bubbly and congenial as they appear to be on TV, bringing my daughter to tearful laughter in seconds. My wife and daughter were looking forward to attending another taping of their show this Fall. A fact they reminded me of this week. But then, during lunch this afternoon, one of my co-workers stumbled across a news-feed while checking his phone.
“Wow. I don’t believe it. Chris is dead.”
None of us could believe it. The details, sparse as they were, were irrelevant and will continue to be. All that matters is this: A good, decent man has left this world richer and brighter than he found it.
In the end, that’s all that matters.
Chrissy was a shining light in a world covered in darkness.
He was a jester.
He was an idol to millions of souls who dwell in the shadows, fearful of revealing their true selves to a judgmental world.
He was a hero.
And he will be missed.