Yesterday I had devastating news. It's one of those things that you know could happen, but you don't think it's going to happen. And when it does, you are just so shocked, so numb, thinking how this can't be real.
Kyxyn, my dear friend, raid leader, fellow officer and Frostwolf, passed away on Wednesday. It was sudden and unexpected. He was only 42.
My Skype was ringing earlier that evening - it was Sars. I missed the call but noticed messages from Frostietute, asking me if something happened to Xyn. There was a Facebook post from his wife saying that she had lost her best friend and love of her life, but he will live on forever in their children.
That sounded pretty final. My heart sank, and I was speechless. I was just talking to him the day before... and he was fine! What happened?
After some digging, I found out he collapsed suddenly and was unable to be revived. His wife also informed me but she was still shocked. My heart went out to her.
I logged on, and told the guild. They were devastated. Our paladin tank was well liked and respected, and he brought a lot of heart to the guild. I changed the message of the day, fielded all the questions that I could, as the tears started to flow with the reality of it all sinking in.
I though of his poor wife and kids. How devastated they must be. And I thought about how he had been getting healthy, and losing weight. How only just the other night we talked about how he'd gone back to school (he was a teacher) and the kids all noticed he had lost weight.
"Sir, can I ask... have you lost weight? Like... a lot of weight?"
"Sir, have you been working out? Because you LOOK like you have been working out."
He was pretty chuffed about that. I had laughed and said I'm glad somebody noticed, because I hadn't noticed - his blood elf always looks the same.
I shed tears for the loss of an officer who had the same ideals that I did, the same dreams we had for a guild where people could be decent to each other and where we had a strong community. I wept for my friend with whom we had the same family values and with whom we shared our struggles and triumphs with our children. I cried for the loss of a raid leader, a tank, my PvP world quest buddy. How we both loved superhero TV shows like The Flash, Luke Cage, Arrow, Daredevil. How we both loved our nerdy geeky stuff. How we both liked trying to lighten the raid by making fun of one another.
The night before we were doing PvP towers together and Murloc world PvP and we had a really good run, netting 3 or 4 Marks from killing other players before we were both killed. I normally don't play on Tuesdays, but I was glad that I did now. He was telling me about the kids and something about Karate, but I don't remember what - I had told him I was a bit distracted with people asking to join the guild.
A number of us got onto Discord after I had told people in the guild, and everyone was speechless. I wasn't the only one crying. Most had no words. I just kept fielding questions.
People were saying sorry to me, for the loss. But I thought, it's everyone's loss, not just mine. However, I realised that people thought we were close, and that of all the people in the guild, perhaps I would be feeling his loss the most. At first, I thought, were we as close as people thought? He was one of my closest friends in the guild, but did he feel that way about me?
Not long ago, he was feeling down about things, feeling let down and I told him that opportunities would present themselves. He was so glum about it that I said to him "Geez, look at you. What would you be like if you'd felt I'd let you down?" He said he'd probably change faction and play alliance. Or just stop playing. I laughed at him. "That's extreme!" But that was probably the only time that he expressed that we had a strong friendship, but I've never really needed him to say it. We chat on Discord till late at night. We have text conversations that go for hundreds of messages which are mostly me listening to him ranting but being unable to convince him or reassuring him - I've told him countless times that our discussions are more like one way conversations of him trying to convince me to thinking his way, which I happily just listen, reply and ignore what he said because I will never be able to sway the stubborn sod to my way of thinking.
I spent ages last night thinking over every thing we had spoken about recently. Trying to hold onto memories of things we did together, because I didn't want to forget. About the inspirational things he would talk to his students about. Like that Mike Rowe video and the Pixar story. He would love it when students appreciated all his teaching after they'd finished high school and come back and tell him how his teaching had made a difference. How he'd play that same Pixar story video every year to his class because he thought that the message and inspiration were so important.
Xyn even got me onto using Myfitnesspal. I looked at it yesterday and saw that he had lunch and a buttload of snacks. I was going to tease him about that at raid. Clearly, that's not going to happen now.
This year I have a conference in Brisbane, and I told him we'd catch up and I'd embarrass him again by dressing full gamer geek. I thought maybe I wouldn't go anymore, but I think perhaps I will just to visit... him. I wanted to go for his funeral but wondered if he wouldn't want all his colleagues and students to know that he was an avid gamer - but I think if people knew what a big part of his evenings World of Warcraft was and none of us showed up, it might feel like internet friendships are not real friendships. Which I know is not the case, because if it was, why am I so devastated by his passing?
Those who knew him well in guild will remember him for his persistence, patience and his leadership and friendship. Those who didn't know him well would remember him for his sarcasm and dry humour and playing a buttload of WoW, and that he was one of the officers. But I will miss the kindred spirit I had, the shared ideal that gave me the strength and encouragement to maintain and uphold the rules to create the guild we have today. We did our best to try to integrate every member of the guild into our community, making them feel like they were part of something. Because of our differing personalities we found it easier to bond with different people in the guild (and discipline others), but between the two of us we managed to form some ties and because the two of us were such good friends we could pretty much troubleshoot everyone here. If someone didn't feel comfortable talking to Xyn about something they'd talk to me and vice versa. It was a good symbiotic relationship. And now it's gone.
Everyone asked me if I'm ok. I guess I am. I know he won't be back. And I know I can't be Xyn. I can only be me. This week I won't have the heart or will to raid without our tyrant raid leader, and I don't think anyone else will either, but next week it will be time to pick up the pieces and move on. I had prepared for this day, and had contingencies in place, because Xyn used to need WoW breaks and go away for a long time. I just didn't realise it would be so soon. Or that this would be the last time I would see him go away.
I miss you Xyn. I didn't need to tell you how much you mean to me and the guild. I think you knew. And I know you felt the same since of the single digit hugs you had in your character statistics, I had received at least one of them. And I am sorry I didn't take any pics of you with your new transmog. Now you will be immortalised in one of your crappy old ones on my blog...