Dave Halligan 1970-2009

I wasn’t sure whether to do this post or not ‘cos it’s not a happy thing, but I wanted to mark the passing of a life with something, as I feel a need to do so.

Some weeks ago I received a friend request on Facebook from a bloke I used to go to school with called Dave Halligan. It took me a week or so to get around to replying (I had to trawl my memory for a minute to remember whether it was primary or high school I knew him from). And then it clicked! It was primary school.

The only real memory I have of Dave is when we were about 10 or 11 yrs old. Our class were having weekly swimming lessons and, as each child got to a certain level, they would move from the shallow end to the deep end. Me being a lousy swimmer, watched as one by one all my class mates being promoted to the deep end (not a place I really wanted to go because it was…well…just so deep!). And so it happened that nearly everyone buggered off to the deep end leaving just two kids in the shallow end: me and Dave Halligan. I didn’t mind so much ‘cos Dave was with me, my partner in crime in being just a crap swimmer. The following week, Dave got ‘promoted’ and I ended up being on my own, still wearing bright orange arm-bands and feeling like the runt of the litter. It took me another few weeks but I got there in the end.

Anyway, I duly accepted Dave’s friend request and we said we’d get together and catch up next time he was up this way as he lived about a four hour drive away. He also happened to be friends with another friend of mine which I didn’t know. Well, literally days later (30th May), Dave hung himself with a computer wire at his home for reasons I’m not entirely sure about. He was battling alcoholism and was on anti-depressants but what tipped him over the edge, I don’t know. Apparently he’d tried twice before to kill himself in the last year-and-a-half.  He’d written one last post on his Blog with very few words, ending in ‘give me enough rope…’

I’ve not seen Dave since we left school but I always got on fine with him and I was really looking forward to seeing him. Our mutual friend was very fond of him and said he was one of the good guys, a sentiment echoed throughout all the posts on his wall that have accumulated on his Facebook page this week, the most poignant of which was from his sister “My little brother, why why why was our love never enough…..” It just seems his demons got the better of him. It’s really shocked me. I was recently just looking at a photo of our primary school class that Dave had posted on Facebook and the sadness at wondering what happened to this smiling little kid just gets me.

Dave Halligan is on the front row, fourth from the left with the black jumper. I’m second from left with the big, cheesy grin.

I tend to think of life as pretty much like a school where we come and learn and then move on. I hope that’s the case with Dave and he’s learned what he needed to, but who knows? It’s just so sad.

Hope the water is lovely in the deep end, Dave. Take care, mate.