Dear Aaron Solowoniuk,
For years we’ve known about your struggle with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). As the drummer of popular Canadian rock band Billy Talent, your seemingly inexhaustible stomp-kick rhythms have been near breathtaking.
And then we heard yesterday that you were taking a hiatus from the band. For nearly half a year, your symptoms have grown worse. Now, despite the fact that Billy Talent is in the studio recording their fifth album, you’ve found yourself unable to join your bandmates. This time around, somebody else has to take your spot behind the drum kit.
From the video you posted explaining the situation, it’s clear that choosing to take a hiatus from the band wasn’t an easy decision to make, and yet you seem to have made the decision with strong conviction, a conviction I surely wouldn’t have had.
Multiple Sclerosis ravages the body – it is a kind of suffering that I can only imagine. Even so, you appear to be meeting it with a kind of quiet fortitude that is nothing short of inspiring.
Human suffering is a strange thing, as I’m sure you know. Yes, life is full of many joys, and yet for a lot of us it is life’s suffering that we remember most clearly. It sits like a front row heckler in the concert hall of our memory, impossible to ignore. Without vigilance, without the determined will to look past that lone dissenter, it becomes far too easy to forget the joyous faces beyond.
No, this is not me trying to tell you to keep your chin up. It’s the opposite, in fact. This is me trying to remind myself that life’s suffering must be met head on with both strength and humility.
You are the example to follow.
In your moments of suffering, know that your strength has given strength to others. Maybe that’s not much of a consolation. Still, perhaps it is a comfort to know that even without your drumsticks in hand, your presence continues to impact those who’ve listened to you for years.
Here’s looking forward to your return.
From an avid fan,
Very well written Zac.