By Neil James
I’m 35 years old and am fortunate to say that I’m still barely acquainted with death.
In many ways, the greatest achievement of modern-day America is my generation’s unfamiliarity with the great beyond. I know nothing of cholera. Tuberculosis. Starvation. War. Death is an abstract concept known only to our grandparents and distant figures on the local evening news.
This freedom from capricious mortality, however, is not a birthright nor an entitlement. It is random privilege. A chance blessing. A gift we “earned” by the happenstance of being born into a nation of abundance and wealth.
It is only in those moments where we are deprived of our random privileges – when the possibility of doing without brushes against our existence – that we recognize the fleeting nature of our blessings.
These are the thoughts that pass through my mind when I reflect on Ian Dailey.
Ian, a friend to myself, Mike and Harry, passed away in a tragic accident two months ago, leaving behind a loving wife Sara (née Hasledalen) and young son Evan. His passing was sudden, unexpected, and by everyone’s account, undeserved.
Many of Ian’s interests naturally lent themselves to friendship with the members of Cwn Annwn. Ian loved metal music and possessed particularly good taste within the genre. Ian also had an affinity for two of our culture’s finest institutions: comic books and pinball. It takes very little effort to picture Ian, ponytail flowing against the back of his At The Gates t-shirt, setting another unattainable record on the Spiderman pinball machine at Station 4. I remember expressing admiration for one particular extended run, to which he responded by detailing his frustration that broken table mechanics prevented him from completing all possible in-game missions.
More importantly, you’d be searching for a long time before you found a person with unkind words for Ian. Ian was a very generous and thoughtful man. A reflection of his limitless compassion and caring, Ian worked hard to put himself through nursing school and served in what can be a thankless, unappreciated profession with arduous pride.
As often happens, when the insidious roots of adulthood crept into our lives, our encounters grew more infrequent. This distance, however, barely buffered our shock and sadness when we learned of Ian’s sudden passing. We can barely imagine the void his loss has created for Sara and young Evan, and to even attempt to do so with words feels trivializing.
The outpouring of support for the Dailey family has been enormous, and we in Cwn Annwn are very grateful that they possess such a strong support network to help them through this difficult time. In a world where we’re quick to casually unfriend one another on Facebook because of a difference of opinion or a flippant remark, it’s been truly amazing to witness the reflexive, unthinking selflessness that so many have displayed.
On Friday, June 5th, Cwn Annwn will be performing at a show commemorating Ian’s life and helping to raise funds for his wife and young son. Joining us will be two acts whose members were similarly close to the Dailey family, Cold Colours (featuring Brian Huebner and Jon Rayl) and The Grande Machine (featuring Glen Wadie). All proceeds from the evening will be donated to Sara and Evan to assist them in their time of need. We hope that everyone reading this is able to attend for what will certainly be a special and heartfelt evening.
Even if you can’t attend, however, we hope that each of you can take a moment to reflect on the blessings in your life. Maybe it’s your spouse. Your mother. Your bandmates. Your cat. Your eccentric Uncle Jack. Despite our daily grievances, when you take inventory of the love, camaraderie and caring that surrounds you, you can’t help but appreciate those whose presence truly matters else just a little bit more.
Click here to visit the show’s official Facebook page and learn more about the event.