Today would have been Paul’s birthday. He passed away on November 2. I miss him.
I met Paul because he was in the game group of a friend of mine. I wasn’t playing in that group, but that’s how I met him. I invited him to hang out with me and my wife, and we became great friends. Almost every Saturday we’d get together and talk about all sorts of stuff, and I’d show him my latest wacky game project, and we’d hang out. He loved my family, and the games we played in our game group, and he held me in a high regard for reasons I never did fully understand.
He played in everything I ran. The two of us would go have supper and talk about leadership and management, about games past present and future, game theory, plans and dreams for work, popular media and stuff we found on the internet, and stories of past exploits. He agreed to pitch in so I could back the Dungeonmorph Dice project, and he was a financial supporter that made it possible for me to get The World Between for Fictive Hack out to you guys. He was a tremendous support to me in so many ways, it’s enough to say that he was invested in my creative life and my family. Someday I hope to be in a position to pay that endless gift forward.
Now that he is gone, I’ve felt his absence keenly. Fortunately, we talked about all sorts of things, we never had any conversations we never got around to, we didn’t have unfinished business. Just regular type friend stuff. No drama, no suspense, just trustworthy presence and mutual interests.
His passing has left a hole. I feel like I can slide down into a place where I am less and less available to people, less and less socially involved. Or, I need to expand my social circle, add to the number of my friends, and breathe fresh life into my friendships. This is just where I was when I met Paul in the first place, and where he was too.
I tried to get an online game together over Christmas break, and just could not get it together. This isn’t that surprising, but it is disappointing. I’m looking for other ways to engage, that don’t cost money and aren’t far out of my comfort zone. Wish me luck on that one…
Anyway, Paul was the best friend I’ve ever had. He never betrayed me, or hurt me, and he was a great steadying and appreciative influence in my life. He enjoyed coming over to my house, becoming part of my family, and sharing in our real-world and imaginary-world spaces.
I can never replace Paul. But knowing that kind of friendship is possible, that there are such cool people out there… I’ve been fortunate to have a friend like Paul. It expands my experience of what is possible, and it put a drain in my cynicism about people.
I thank Paul, I wish him the best on the next leg of the journey, and I selfishly mourn him and the loss in my life now that he’s gone.
Happy birthday, man.