“To have courage, you have to be discouraged. To get up, you have to know how to fall down. To win, you have to know how to lose. And you have to know that this is what life amounts to, and you fall down and you get up many times. And there are some who fall down and they don’t get up ever again, who in general are the most sensitive, the ones who are easiest to hurt, the people whom it hurts the most to live. The most sensitive people are the most vulnerable. On the other hand, those fuckers who dedicate themselves to tormenting humanity, they have the longest of lives, they never die. Because they are missing a gland, which as it happens is quite rare. It is called conscience, which is what torments you at night.”
Dara Quigley’s funeral service was held today in Dardistown Crematorium, just across the road from the airport. It was a ceremony filled with warmth and light and some laughter. Her coffin was brought in to the strains of Bad Girls by MIA, and it moved out the room to the sound of Cosmic Dancer by T. Rex.
Dara’s parents spoke of their beloved daughter’s sensitivity and boundless curiosity about the world. Her brother and sister spoke of their big sister’s caring presence and her indomitable irreverent humour. Her partner told of how Dara’s favourite flower was the sunflower, not only for its colour, but for how it turned towards the sunlight. The civil celebrant read her words, shared now many times, envisioning how ‘we are all starlings, producing intricate, amazing patterns all arising from one fundamental rule: no one bird is allowed to get lost’. Harry Browne spoke beautifully about the bravery and explosive rhythms of her writing. Even if she might not have been a Bruce Springsteen fan, Harry noted, she was no doubt a kindred spirit to those standing -in Bruce’s song We Are Alive– “shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart”.
“Is it wrong to understand / the fear that dwells inside of man?”, sang Marc Bolan as Dara’s coffin moved out through the curtains. Dara was a regular reader of this website, and we were in touch regularly over the past few years. We would chat about writing, and politics, and everyday life. There were times I spoke with Dara when for all her irreverent exuberance and her insistence that everything was grand, it was clear she was afraid of something. I don’t believe we always need look inside to understand such fears. There are so many real things that can produce fear in us, things that promise a pain of isolation, abandonment, illness. It is not enough that each person should learn to confront such fears themselves. To feel that you have to do that alone is a way of compounding those fears. I believe Dara knew all this, and that is why she wrote what she did, with such courage, despite what she told me was her “crippling self-doubt”. “Got ta present the flaws up front otherwise people go looking for em”, she told me before she published her last post back in September. I’ll always be grateful to her for that, even if I can hear her making a big ‘pffft‘ noise as I write this.