What can one say about a man like David Taylor, who was so gifted and talented, so full of humor and kindness, and so giving of himself to the industry and to his loving family, when his life is taken in a tragic accident?
David was a lighting consultant, most recently with Arup as the leader of their Theatre Consulting division and with Theatre Projects before that. He died on January 16 at the young age of 48 when he accidentally fell from the roof of a 14-story building in Taipei.
David touched many lives, as evidenced by the outpouring of condolences from the theatre and live event community. Raj Patel, a principal of Arup said of him; “David was a major and much-loved international name in the theatre business, as an exceptional forward thinker and designer for the performing arts, theatre planner, technical systems consultant, and active stage lighting designer.” Richard Pilbrow said David made a “great contribution...to the profession that he loved.” Alan Kibbe said, “He was a brilliant, incredibly creative, passionate, and enthusiastic renaissance man.” Bill Sapsis said he was “a warm, humorous, inquisitive and passionate person.” Larry Schoeneman said he “brought spirit to every conversation and project.” Sarah Rushton-Read said “his cheerful face was always a delight to see...and his passion and insight for the theatre and performing arts totally infectious.” Andrew Nickel called him “bright, engaging, and witty.” Bill Klages said he was a “truly wonderful person.” Jim Niesel said David was “one of the kindest, unselfish, caring, amazingly wonderful people I have ever known.” (For more condolences and to post a message of condolence to David’s family, visit http://rememberingdavidtaylor.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/condolences/.)
Words are insufficient to convey the emotions we all felt upon learning the news. As Mike Wood said, “No words, no words. Ave atque vale chum...”
Ram Dass is a spiritual leader who once wrote a touching epitaph when he learned of the death of a young woman. His words resonate with so much truth that I feel no compunction about borrowing them to remember David. These are the words of Ram Dass, with some slight changes, as told by Dr. Wayne Dryer during one of his seminars in Maui, Hawaii.
David exited the stage on this earth much too early, before his work was finished, both physically and metaphysically. The manner in which he left leaves us with a cry of agony in our hearts, as the fragile thread of our faith is dealt with so violently. Is anyone strong enough to stay conscious through such teaching as we are receiving? Probably very few. And even they would only have a whisper of equanimity and peace amidst the screaming trumpets of their grief, their horror, and their desolation. We can’t assuage our pain with any words, nor should we. For our pain is David’s legacy to us, not that he would choose to inflict such pain by choice, but there it is. And it must burn its purifying way to completion, for something in you dies when you bear the unbearable. For it is only in that dark night of the soul that you are prepared to see as God sees, and to love as God loves.
Now is the time to let your grief find expression, not false strength. Now is the time to sit quietly and speak to David. Thank him for being with us these few years and encourage him to go on with whatever his work is, knowing that we will grow in love and wisdom from the shared experience of walking the earth together. In my heart, I know that we will meet again and again, and recognize the many ways in which we have known each other. And when we meet, we will know in a flash what now it is not given to us to know - why this had to be the way it was. Our rational minds can never understand what has happened, but our hearts, if we keep them open to God, will find their own intuitive way.
David came to do his work on earth, which includes his manner of death. Now his soul is free. And the love that we can share with him is invulnerable to the winds of changing time and space. In that deep love, include me.