I just found out that my friend and long time member of my roleplaying group, Craig, died last week of natural causes. I tend to withdraw when something shocking like this happens so I’m kind of hurrying to get my thoughts down before that happens, so I apologise if my eulogy is a little crude, unflattering or disjointed but I wanted to say something immediate and honest rather than to wait. I wanted to give a human reaction instead of a measured or artificial one.
I never liked Craig when I first met him. We were both very active players in the Camarilla LARP society and my characters often found themselves at odds with his characters and – in the manner of the way that organisation went – that meant we often found ourselves at odds out-of-character as well. I found him camp, pretentious and later when I was the one Storytelling for him, he was an obtuse and difficult bastard with bizarre characters that were really difficult to create or moderate stories for. Still, he won over friends and we shared friends and seemed to relax into a kind of reasonably affable détente.
Once I left the Camarilla I didn’t see much of him that often. I moved out to the countryside and couldn’t travel much any more while he cemented his friendship with our mutual friends and so – once I started seeing them more again and roleplaying with them, he was present. To the point of house-sharing with them and becoming part of our regular gaming groups.
We moved from that détente into friendship, though not a particularly close friendship (I always felt he disapproved of me in some way for some reason) and I began to appreciate his presence. He was still a difficult bastard with whimsical, hard-to-gamesmaster-for characters though, which often led me to tear my hair out to the point I was nearly as bald as he was.
However much he’d rub me the wrong way, Craig had a mastery of the art of joke-sniping, sliding a humorous comment into the middle of a conversation only to have it detonate as a laughter bomb in the middle of you talking. I appreciated his kindness and willingness to help others – he was a nurse – and his constantly upbeat attitude which I could never (and will never be) able to replicate. That most of all, that ready smile and that wicked glint in the eye.
He’ll be missed for all that.
He is, just about, the first peer I’ve lost to natural causes. I’ve lost people to accidents, to suicide, to many unnatural causes but never really, until now, to the simple failing of the body. It’s strange that, that should be so affecting, but it is. More so, even, than when someone has taken their own life. Perhaps because it’s just so arbitrary and bloody unfair.
The deaths of others always end up being about those of us left to carry on, those who remain.
That’s not selfish.
Our memories and our stories are the closest thing to immortality that exists. We influence and affect one another, we teach each other things and give each other stories. We pass those stories on and so our friend live on, through us. Echoing into infinity.