Dave sadly decided to end his own life by self-immolation at the age of 38 and I don’t think anyone quite knows the reasons why. But the circumstances and time of year indicates it was a political statement against the Chinese regime and their oppression of the Tibetan nation.
For me his reasons do not matter. It was a terrible thing to do and I am still incredibly sad, knowing that Dave will never make another human being laugh or smile. I am not saying it was a terrible thing to do “to” his family, or “to” any one of us who loved him so dearly, because that would imply animosity or anger towards him. And I don’t feel either of those emotions. I just feel an immense love and affection for him and gratitude for the brief moment that I was fortunate enough to have him in my life. And I am grateful that he let me be a part of his.
But it was a terrible loss to the world because he was such a genuinely good and caring person, who touched so many people so deeply. Dave embraced me and loved me as a sister, in a difficult time in both our lives and for that I will always love him. He was always there for me when others were not and when I didn’t have many friends. He stood up for me.
And he made me laugh a lot, when I needed it the most. I can still see that cheeky smile and that look of mischief on his face that always made me burst into laughter, whether I was angry, sad or just felt blue and out of place. And sometimes he would stay over, or invite me to stay with him, on those many difficult nights that followed in the wake of the tsunami. When I think most of us, at one time or another, were literally fearing the ghosts of all those people who were ripped away from this earth so brutally, he’d just offer to be there. We’d just hold one another through the night and feel the comfort of being close to another human being. That’s the kind of friend he was.
When I learned of his passing, it was like someone had ripped the heart out of my chest. The first day or two I just cried a lot but as it sank in and I started reading the newspapers about his passing, I just screamed. I was howling from the pain. I never knew it was possible to hurt that much, without being physically injured. I couldn’t understand how he could do such a terrible thing to himself. My beautiful, Dave. And for a while I tried to be angry with him. For doing that to his parents. For doing that to us. But those feelings are long gone. I think of Dave with nothing but love, happiness and gratitude for everything we shared. The good, bad and ugly.
Tuesday, I will celebrate his life. I will light a candle as a symbol of the gratitude I feel for having briefly met him.
I will always love you, Dave Allen.