Hardest Post

FYI Ive been in the hospital in den since Sunday night I have something called pres syndrome the r is for reversible. I’m not announcing it on fb though don’t think the world needs to know

Figured if you poked at my dragons you may get curious as to why they are hungry

wait

what do you have?

This? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posterior_reversible_encephalopathy_syndrome

Yup

is there anyone you want me to pass this along to?

Nah just Rogers since I figure you will anyways

of course, lol

you should totally ask for a copy of your brain scan and get that framed for the wall

pics or it didn’t happen =P

I’ll see what I can do

Ttl

get better, we have to go to dinner for Olivia’s bday

The last message was sent at 10:27 on Tuesday, March 6th, 2014.

That was the last time I talked to one of my best friends.

As I wrote this post, he was dying.  The marvels of modern medicine are keeping his body alive long enough to allow the medications to leave his system so he can donate his organs.

Funny how the thing we used to joke about him not having is what killed him.

My long-time readers will hopefully remember Telanarra. I hope you do, because I’ll never forget him.

I met Tel, or Gary as I first knew him, back in college.

I was dating Zambra, Gary was in that social circle. We all hung out playing games and bullshitting.

He moved up to Sacramento, we stayed in touch playing Star Craft (yes, on dial up), and he would come down to play games and bullshit.

We moved to Sacramento – into the same apartment complex – and he got me a job at the company he worked for.

I think he eventually came to regret that decision as it wasn’t long before I was his boss.

He was great at the job. Terrible employee, though, and it was a running joke that I was trying to get him fired. OK, so it wasn’t really a joke, he had more absences than most student bodies can rack in a semester.

Bastard quit on me, didn’t even wait until I came into the office that day. From what I heard, he just walked in, said “Fuck it,” and walked back out.

That was a dark time for Gary. He had lost his dad when he was very young to a freak heart failure. Gary was convinced the same was going to happen to him.

As that age grew near, Gary pulled away.

I think he was almost disappointed when the ordained year came and went and he was still kicking.

Suddenly, he had to figure out what to do with his life.

That took some time, but he was finally getting everything in order.

We moved on from Star Craft to WoW years ago.

He was a shitty healer. Seriously, he admitted to casting HoTs based on the pattern it made on his raid frames and we lost a timed Stratholme run once because he was flipping out over someone not looting a pair of pants. And the time I died because he was trying to link a gray item – a Rock – in guild chat. And the time he just sort of forgot to heal me because I was on the bottom of his party list.

But he showed up (mostly) on time and was ready with the laughs – usually at his expense. And since most of his terrible healing was directed at me (or any other unlucky mages in the group), we could usually manage.

He was back in school, learning history stuff – stuff that he loved. He even got to take a class on classic rock music. And at one point he did a presentation that somehow incorporated a brewery into it.

Tir and I live really close to the school, so he would stop by when his schedule had breaks and play with the kitties. We didn’t always have time to play a game, but we would sit around and bullshit.

After we started playing Flight Rising, we would sit around and talk shop about breeding dragons and show off our latest acquisitions. He managed to get his triple platinum guardian and was very happy with her.

He fought to get his major switched around to “something more marketable.” In actuality I think one major requiring a huge paper and the other not having any such requirement made the decision for him.

Gary has a lot of family in Denver, Colorado, and tried to visit as often as he could.

It was on his last visit that he collapsed at the airport, as he was about to head home to California.

And so began the roller coaster.

As I wrote this, we still didn’t know what caused the swelling in his brain.

But Gary got to spend some quality time in a medically-induced coma – something we used to joke about all the time. He never seemed to be getting enough sleep and we used to wonder just what it would take to get put under by doctor’s orders. Now we know.

Then there was the surgery, to put a hole in his head.

I was all prepared for my speech when he got back to California. I was going to tear him a new one for letting some hoity-toity medical professional go drilling holes in his skull when he and I had a perfectly valid agreement that if one of us ever needed that service the other would provide it for free. The same agreement extended to lobotomies, so I was going to hold fast on that one.

But the doctors’ optimism faded and the updates from the family, while still full of the humor that comes naturally out of talking about Gary, got bleaker.

Thoughts of what I would say to him when he got back turned to thoughts of him not coming back.

I held out pretty well for awhile.

Gary has always been a lucky son of a bitch (no offense to his mother), and while he may not have always come up smelling like roses, life just had a way of working out for him. Might not have been pretty, but he got by.

So while the logical part of my brain is running through the checklist of how bad the situation is, the rest of my brain told it to shut up, “This is GARY we’re talking about. He’s always been difficult like this, just to give us something to talk about when he’s all better. He’ll come back and we’ll have a good long laugh about this and I’ll threaten to strangle him because that’s kind of like a cross between a hug and beating the shit out of him for scaring me.”

I think it was around 7:00 PM Sunday night when I got the call from his roommate to inform me that the doctors had pronounced him brain dead. He wanted me to hear before I could see the announcement online. Wasn’t much to announce until he’s officially off life support.

And so, here I am. Trying to do justice for the memory of a man I loved like a brother.

So many memories.

His tie-dyed T-shirts that spurred changes to the dress code at work.

Revising attendance policy because he was such a slacker.

“It’s cool and minty.”

Religious commentary on the price of movie theater popcorn.

Moving from tie-dyed shirts to Hawaiian shirts. And the perpetual shorts and sandals.

Crashing at his apartment after a long day of gaming.

Him crashing here. A cat paw getting shoved into his ear while he slept.

Luring me to his desk with shiny objects and the promise of candy.

Spending an hour trying to figure out how to get out of a task that would take five minutes.

Kubla-con.

Chewing on dice. Seriously, who does that?

The Dwarf and Elf Connection.

The Rainbow Connection.

Electric Mayhem.

“Whorebunny!”

Roller Coaster Tycoon and our competition to build the most lethal roller coaster.

His phone had two ringtones. One was the noise Predators make when they are hunting. The other was the sound of SC siege tanks deploying. As a zerg/protoss player, that one freaked me out every time.

“Housekeeping!”

Refusing to drink certain beers because they were mass-produced. Fucking beer hipster.

Trivia nights. My promise that he would be my lifeline if I was ever on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?.

The leaning tower of pizza boxes.

Opening a door and walking into it, right into the edge.

Playing cards at the car dealer while we waited for the salesman to come back with a better offer. Hell, playing cards EVERYWHERE.

I gave him a paper cut with a manila folder, right under his nose, because he wouldn’t give me the file and I snatched it from him. He called me a bitch. Not the first time and certainly not the last.

He stole a french fry off my plate and I stabbed his hand with my fork hard enough that he bled. But he never stole food off my plate again.

The infamous “venting a hot pocket via paper airplane” incident.

Listening to him call in *sick* to work while I can hear boarding calls being announced behind him.

“I am dog. Hear me roar. Moo.”

Playing Spades. Starting call to “kick the dog” and we would all kick Gary under the table.

Clothes shopping with him and convincing him he was looking at a stack of red shirts when he wanted a green one. (Yes, the color choice at the beginning of this post was deliberate. Fuck the colorblind. He wanted that shirt. Always meant to get it for him.)

Having to explain to another gamer that life does not, in fact, work like a merit and flaw system with character creation and Gary was not granted any special powers to offset his colorblindness.

“You smell like a candy store.” Still one of my favorite compliments, ever.

Redvines. Swedish Fish. Confiding in him at the movies that I had spilled Nerds in my cleavage.

Spending all holiday season looking for Jewish Christmas cards. Telling him the Kosher ham was obtained at great expense, just for him.

Asking him if giraffe was Kosher. And him taking the question seriously and researching it. (I think we came up with a tentative yes on that one.)

Gauging his alertness by how fucked up his hair was.

Supergluing his fingers together while working on his 40k models. I think he was playing a Tau army at the time, before it got stolen. Note that the superglue issue was a reoccurring problem.

Sporks.

Always with his sunglasses and almost always with a book. Except when he forgot his sunglasses here.

The SNORING. When he was AWAKE.

“But you come across as functional.” We were going to get T-shirts made. I think I still will.

The trials of being left-handed in a right-handed world and having friends that never let you forget it.

The two of us sitting at one end of the table at a restaurant giggling about stupid shit while the “mature adults” rolled their eyes at us and tried to ignore the sugar packet war being waged two feet away.

Gary was part of my family. He showed up to almost as many family functions as I did. If he didn’t tag along, people asked where he was.

I was going to ask him to be the Maid of Honor at my wedding. He would have done it, too. (No dress, he actually cleaned up really nice in a suit.)

I never had a brother. But Gary filled that spot in my heart. I always loved him, even when I was furious with him.

I’m pretty damned pissed at him right now. We had plans. We were supposed to have another game night here. DarkDalamar just bought his first house and we were going to have a game night there. We were supposed to go out for a friend’s birthday party. We were supposed to play Ticket to Ride together on Steam. We were just supposed to sit around and bullshit in between classes while he played with the kitties. We were supposed to chat all day via IM on his off days. We were just supposed to BE.

Gary wasn’t a saint by any means, but the world is losing someone special with his passing. In the long run, I’m glad I knew him and got to share the moments I did with him.

But for now, I’m angry and sad and tired and just want my friend back.

{I got word Monday evening he had died from refractory intracranial hypertension. I held off posting early on Monday, waiting for something more concrete. Couldn’t post on Tuesday or Monday night when most people would read it the next day, because this would make for a shitty April 1st post. A shittier post than it already is.}

5 comments on “Hardest Post

  1. wolfgangcat says:

    I am so sorry for your loss.

    I know words don’t mean very much at a time like this, so I will just say that the anger will subside, and he will always be in your memories and in your heart.

    Like

  2. I’m terribly sorry to hear of your loss.

    It’s times like these that you need to have your other friends with you too. Talk about the good times as you have written here – have a beer in the fellow’s honor.

    Like

  3. koalabear21 says:

    Thank you for writing this. Ever since I read the news on Monday my thoughts have been about him. I keep thinking of things and wondering what his reply would be if I brought it up to him.

    I hope that you go ahead with the plans you had made with him. I think he would be happy if you did.

    Like

  4. zarigar says:

    You’ve written a wonderful tribute with just the right about of heart and smart-assedness (I know that’s not a word, shut up…). I think Gary would have loved it.

    Like

  5. repgrind says:

    It’s taken me a week to get to reading this because … I just couldn’t. Sadly, I never got to meet Gary IRL, but he and I had many laughs online, both in WoW and out of it. If I feel this bad, I can’t even begin to imagine how others like yourself must feel. His unique personality will be missed for sure.

    Like

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