This is going to be a departure from my usual gaming related topics, because I have something important to talk about. It is not something easy for me either because I am still grieving and am not sure I’ve fully processed everything that is going on right now.
Anyone who follows me will have seen some discussion this weekend about a personal loss that I experienced this week. My best friend in the entire world passed away suddenly sometime Wednesday or Thursday (I don’t know the specific time). I wanted to come on here and tell you a little bit about who my friend was and why she was such an amazing person who I will miss for the rest of my life.
I guess the first thing to say is that my friends name was Sydney. We met several years ago while playing World of Warcraft when her guild merged in to the guild that I was playing in. At first we didn’t talk very much, just normal guild chat. After a few chats in guild talk I learned that she was in to comic books, which is something I’ve been into for a long time. We started chatting through private messages and quickly started dating. We lived fairly far apart, and travel for me was a bit financially difficult so we would usually spend time running old content together. This was a point in time where we were both having difficulty finding a reason to continue playing and the ability to run content together gave us a means to spend time together.
After around a month of this is when we finally decided to start going out, and after some discussion we decided that she would fly out to meet me in person. It has been several years but I can tell you exactly what I was wearing when I picked her up. It is the same shirt I am wearing today while telling you about her, which is my Decepticon t-shirt that I bought online. I also had a button with a little dinosaur on it saying Rawr. Because as everyone knows, Rawr is dinosaur for “I love you”. At the time I was not as financially stable as I am know so we spent that first weekend together visiting friends and family so that she could meet everyone, or just sitting around watching movies or playing games.
This was the majority of how most of our visits went. I can’t say we had a lot of time together in person over the years. Just when we could afford a trip and we could both get the time off of work. At first she came up here because she was able to afford it where as I could not. After a certain amount of time I was able to go down to visit her in Houston where she lived and worked. After that I started making trips down there to spend time with her.
This was how my life was for several years. We would spend time together and be happy, and then part and go back to our respective homes. This was never easy for either of us, but we endured. There was nothing more important to us than each other. This stayed true for the entire time I knew her, and I will always have those memories.
We dated for several years before deciding that since neither of us felt like we could move and that the distance was too difficult so we decided that we would just remain friends. This was probably harder for me than it was for her, but at the time there were things about her that I didn’t know that probably contributed to the situation.
This leads to the point of explaining why she was so important to me. One of the things I found out later on was that she suffered from a couple of different medical conditions. One was that she had a great deal of physical pain and the other was that she suffered heavily from mental illness. I don’t know if she ever was given a formal diagnosis, but I know she was on medication to treat this. Prior to starting her medication she was subject to routine mood swings that led to a lot of arguments. The medication helped with this some, but she still had a lot more bad days than good.
A lot of her problems stemmed from her work environment where she felt like she was being treated poorly and in some cases felt she was being bullied by her coworkers. She would often talk about this, but only in minor detail. I can’t tell you the whole story because even I don’t know it. There were also several very toxic people in her personal life, who she was eventually able to distance herself from, but that I think were contributors to her self esteem problems.
She was very reserved and didn’t feel that she could trust people with her feelings due to prior negative experiences, which is why I don’t think most people were even aware that there was a problem. In most cases I was able to calm her down and things would feel like they had gone back to normal. Maybe I was a bit naive to think everything was okay, but I wanted to believe that they were.
The entire time that I knew her she worked as a contractor for NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. To say that she was one of the smartest people that I know is a bit of an understatement. I think that if she had had more self esteem she might have been able to find something else. Which might be a odd thing to read, but she just really didn’t like working there after a certain point. Once the budget was cut on NASA’s funding is when I think she really started to have problems there. She would often be depressed because she had nothing to work on and she felt the people she worked for would never give her a chance. How much of that is subjective I don’t know, and I never will. I know that she worked with people who treated her poorly and contributed to her feelings of low self esteem and feeling that her life was not worth living.
I feel like this is where I failed her. I did everything that I could to try to help her understand that she shouldn’t let these people bother her so much but they always managed to do or say something that would set her off. This is part of the reason that she started taking anti-depressants. These seemed to help at first but she still had bad days. It was getting worse recently where barely a day would go by where she would make a comment about how she wanted to die or how much she hated the people there. Maybe I didn’t take her seriously enough, but I always tried my best to make her understand that what she was saying wasn’t true and that people did care about her. Maybe that just wasn’t enough, but I felt like I was doing the best I could.
That is not to say she was unhappy all the time. I could always tell that when she got to do interesting things she became much happier. Getting to do research or go do things like taking a ride on the “Vomit Comet” were some of the best days she had there. Whenever I was there with her she at least had someone to come home to and give her the hugs she so much needed after dealing with the people she worked with. I wish I had been able to be there more, and the last time I saw her I gave her a stuffed “hug me” bear that she could use after a bad day. I guess lately the amount of interesting work had dwindled to next to nothing and she spiraled in to depression without talking to anyone about it.
Yesterday morning I found out that she had gotten in to an argument with her boss over something and had gone home and taken her own life. I don’t know what the argument was about, I just know the outcome. I wish that I could have talked to her again that day, maybe gotten her to talk about what had happened. Maybe she’d still be here if I had. I feel like she knew this too, and that is why she didn’t say anything to me. I just wish she had.
I’ve talked to several people in the aftermath of this news. People that knew her, even if they had never met her in person. Everyone has done there best to help me cope and me typing this is a way for me to get a little bit of closure. I wanted to tell people that my friend was an amazing person who had an illness. She was very guarded and felt she couldn’t talk to anyone about what she was feeling. I am sad in so many ways because of the amazing person that I won’t ever get to talk to again. Who I won’t get to tell “Have a good day” to every morning when I got up. Someone who I will never get to hug again and tell them that everything will be alright. I can say that I hope I don’t have any typos cause I can’t really see the screen through the tears that are flowing down my face.
The saddest part of this story is one I haven’t told many people. We had been talking recently about her moving in with me when her apartments lease had ended, and maybe starting things over again after awhile. She was very open to the idea, even if had meant that she would have to take a much lower paying job just to get away from the environment she was in. This is one of the things that is making this so hard for me deal with. I feel like if she had just given it a bit more time things would have gotten better. I suppose she didn’t feel this way in the end though, but this is just one of the things I’ll never know now.
I want to say that if know anyone who has problems to please be there for them. Make sure that they know you care about them and that you are there to listen and that you won’t judge them. Please just be there for them so you don’t have to go through what I am going through. This is a pain I would never wish on another person ever.
Her name was Sydney, and she was the best friend I ever had.
I miss you.