The Loss of a Good Friend and Fellow Gamer...
by, 10-27-2012 at 02:41 PM (1756 Views)
We got quite the shock this past Friday. We had assembled for the weekly game, getting ready to play, and were waiting on one player, a fellow named Dave. We didn't think much about it at the time. The player was always at least on time, usually early. We also were aware of a large deployment of power company vehicles along his route, and expected he might have hit traffic and/or turned around to use an alternate route. But after an hour passed we started to worry, and I called his house number to see if everything was OK.
...and discovered that a relative of Dave's had put an announcement on his answering machine, telling whoever called that she regretted to inform us that he had passed away rather suddenly on October 24, and providing information for the funeral and several phone numbers.
We sat there staring at each other around the table, not knowing what to say or think. The guy was a gem of a human being, and easily one of the best players we'd ever known. We couldn't imagine what had happened, or why. We tried talking about it a bit, then called it a night early. Well, we said we were calling it a night, but we were still around the table for a bit, not really knowing what to do with ourselves. Dave had been such a part of everything since we first contacted him in July 2011 through P&PG (where he was known as Corax) that he was almost family.
After everyone went home, my wife called one of the numbers on the answering machine message. She got Dave's sister, who told us he'd collapsed at work. They tried reviving him, but were unsuccessful. Cause of death: heart failure, at age 49.
The conversation then took an unexpected turn. She suddenly asked my wife, Are you one of his gaming friends?
Usually, when a question like that is asked, the first reaction is, Oh, boy. We're going to get disapproved of. But my wife told her directly that yes, we were his gaming friends, and he would come over for both the Friday and Sunday group every week.
The reaction was immediate and completely unexpected. She told us how glad she was that we'd reached out to her, that they (the whole family) were trying to reach us, but didn't have names or numbers to go by. And she wanted to tell all of us how important we had been to Dave in this past year.
She went on to tell us how he had been a reclusive man, not interacting much with people beyond going to work. When the internet had first come along, he became even more reclusive, and apparently family worried for him. Then July of last year came around, and a radical shift in his behavior became apparent to them. He was more outgoing, laughed and smiled more, and was obviously much, much happier. And he would talk a LOT about this group of gamers he'd met and joined. They didn't understand the games, and didn't have much interest in learning about them, but they could see the positive change in Dave, and could only be grateful.
We told her that the whole roster of both groups would attend the funeral, and that's when she said something else that floored us. She asked me to come up the house after the funeral. It seems that Dave had amassed quite the library of game books, which they had no personal use for. BUT...it was important to Dave, so very important, and it had been responsible for such joy in the time we knew him, that they wanted us to go through them, and take what we wanted. They wanted the books to go to a good home, and for us to have something to remember Dave by.
Personally, I felt honored to think I was involved in bringing someone such happiness, especially in what turned out to be the last fifteen months of his life. It's just really hard to learn about it in this way. Dave will be sorely missed by everyone here.