I first met Dicky twenty years ago, almost to the day, as we began our four years at Leeds Polytechnic. We both pursued the same course, although actually attending the course was something we both considered optional! We also lived together, first in Harehills, then Headingly, then Hyde Park. After our time together at Leeds, we went our separate ways in terms of geography, but we always remained very close friends.
I attribute out close friendship to two things. Firstly, we shared a will to pursue new interests, and to participate in new activities and ventures. As Dave noted, this was a large part of Dicky’s life. Together, we participated with others in internet projects of immense proportions, an accomplishment of which I am very proud. Of course, I must admit that at least half of the dialogue generated from these projects went way over my head, but what a tremendous opportunity Dicky created for us to keep learning, stay young, and continually challenge ourselves. That was the type of environment within which Dicky thrived.
The second thing that kept us close was simply our true respect and love for each other. From my standpoint, this was founded on a simple understanding. That is, I am who I am today, in no small part, because I met Dicky that first day in Harehills, Leeds. We met during a very formative period of my life, and I was blessed to have someone who could really teach me what was right about life, and how to view life optimistically and live it to the fullest.
Each of us here has stories to tell of Dicky’s idealism and joy of life. His positive attitude, his hopeful approach to life, and his ability to see things differently than everyone else are what made Dicky who he was.
Tragically, his positive attitude and passion for life were slowly dismantled over the course of the past year as depression seeped in and took over, almost like dark clouds moving in over a perfect summer’s day.
As a means of trying to make sense of the unbearable loss of my friend, I have spent the last few weeks learning about depression, and trying to understand Dicky’s state of mind in his final days. As a result, I have come to understand that the pain he was feeling was of a strength that is inconceivable to us, and he could see no hope or possibility of it abating. I believe he viewed himself as a burden and a hindrance to those he loved. His final decision was made based on his belief that we, the people he loved, would be better off without him. I believe his intentions were to end the excruciating pain for himself, and to remove the burden from us. I believe that, given his state of mind at the time, it took great courage for Dicky to do what he did. Even as I am angry with him for leaving us this way, i understand that he truly saw no other way, and he felt he was doing the best thing for everyone.
Dicky’s impact on me, from the first day we met until now, has been profound. He will continue to influence me for the rest of my life. He has left a legacy of optimism, inspiration, and love to all who knew him. I hope that today, even in our grief, we can celebrate this legacy, and be proud of Dicky for all that he achieved, and remember him for the person he truly was. He will never be forgotten.