I have a habit of always wishing people happy birthday on whatever social media they happen to use (that I also use). Facebook, G+, twitter, you name it, I’m there obnoxiously wishing you a happy birthday, year after year. Even if we don’t know each other that well. It’s just something I always do.
So like every other year I wished my friend Jean a happy birthday.
Then his daughter contacted me to tell me that he had lost his battle with depression back in March, and was no longer with us. His wife posted the same message, just weeks earlier.
I had no idea.
I felt.. well, I don’t even know how to describe what I felt. I felt ashamed that I hadn’t kept in touch better. That I didn’t know that he had died. That I had posted a chipper happy birthday message to his facebook wall for friends and family to see and probably stir up some memories. I removed my message right away, ashamed.
Instead I posted one expressing my condolences, and telling Jean and his family that I won’t ever forget our talks in EQ2.
Yep, another gamer. Just like all of us.
I “met” Jean in EQ2 years ago. I don’t even know how long it has been now. He was instigating arguments on the public channels of Antonia Bayle. Arguments that I didn’t agree with. It was something against the US military, in a time where that was (I suppose it always is) a pretty volatile statement to make. Needless to say, the entire server ganged up on him to try to ‘take him down’ due to his harsh statements.
I felt like it wasn’t fair to gang up on a person just because of their opinion, whether or not you personally agreed with that opinion. I didn’t like that a mass of players were verbally attacking one single person due to the tone of their comments (whether he deserved it or not). So I started sending him tells. I had never spoken to him before that but something told me I should reach out, so I did.
We were never really ‘close’ per say, but I knew he was battling depression and that he had been for years. I knew about his family, and we became friends on facebook. I thought I’d share one of our last conversations. His part is in italics.
- You were there for me when I was in dire need of some human contact and I know I’m not easy to deal with, lotsa obstacles: low self-esteem, anti-social, etc. I know it’s awkward to even talk to me. anyway, just in case I never said it, thank you for being there when I needed it. For you I’m sure it seems like a sordid memory. I know it was a weird time for me.
- You’re more then welcome. I’m always there for anyone I consider a friend or who needs it. I try, at least.
- like I said, a saint
Our final conversation was about some anime, back in January 2015, followed by (you guessed it) the typical birthday wishes. I think about how many people out there are suffering in silence with depression and I constantly wonder “what can I do?” it seems like an impossible task to take on.
You never know what someone’s personal situation is like, so please, be kind to one another out there. You just don’t know what it will turn into one day.
I’ll miss you, Jean.