Friday, October 29, 2010

In the Shade of Deathwing - about those things we normally try not to think about

We’ve reached the end of this post-Blizzcon week and I’ve noticed a couple of pieces of news that I could have reflected over together with our Friday night pint here at the inn.

The announced arrival of Deathwing, for instance. Lucky those who will get fried in his fire! One commenter at MMO-Champion figured out that the chances to be on the right spot in the right time could be as low as 2 percent. I hope he didn’t have a clue about what he was talking about.

But I’ll leave this and the other potential topics for now, because something else came up, namely a blog post by Aurdon. It brought tears into my eyes when I read it and I couldn't get it out of my head ever since. So I'll deal with it the way that bloggers do it: I write. It usually helps.

I'll tell you right from the start that this post will on the serious side, so if you have a problem with this kind of discussions and prefer your WoW blog experience to be lighthearted and merry, since you're here to escape the crap in your RL rather than talk about it, I suggest that you take your pint and move over to the other corner of the inn. Why don't you read an old post or visit my neighbour blogs? I can hear the happy banter and there's laughter and silliness in the air. It's totally OK to leave and I don't blame you if you don't want to go serious tonight.

For you who choose to stay though, I'm going to talk a bit about Aurdon's post even if it might bring up some sad or even painful emotions, thoughts and memories. Be warned. This will be a post about things that we normally try not to think about, and if we do it, we keep it to ourselves.

The death of a guild member
Aurdon tells the story about what recently happened to his guild, as they lost one of their long time guild members. When they logged on after the weekend, it turned out that he had died, all of a sudden.

It's quite rare that you hear about players dying, but it happens. Of course it does; with 12 million players over the world, it's to be expected, even if I suppose that the community is fairly young compared to the entire population. Sometimes the dead players get honoured with memorial posts in the official forums, or there will even be special arrangements on their home servers, like this memorial walk that Pike wrote about a couple of years ago.

Occasionally as I see those stories, a thought flies through my head: what if it was me that died? Or as I put the question in a blog post from 2008: If I die for real, will anyone notice?, where I wrote about the rift that goes between my life in Azeroth and my real life. No one but me knows my password to WoW, no one in my family knows how to get in touch with my guild, and if they did I doubt they'd care about it anyway, since "it's just a game". No one outside of the WoW/MMO community knows about this blog. Some game and blogger friends know my real name, but unless I died in such a very spectacular way that it would become news, I can't see how the people I see in WoW ever would learn about that I've died.

They would notice that I suddenly was gone, without giving any notice, and a few might be a bit concerned, knowing that it's very much unlike me. But would they be worried enough to actually take action and try to contact my family? Or would they be reluctant to break into my private sphere?

From a logical point of view I suppose it wouldn't matter to me either way, after all I'd be dead and wouldn't know. Still: somehow it bothers me a little to leave people hanging; it's as if someone had tore away the final pages of a novel. We want to know how it ended.

Not thinking about death
Aurdon's guild learned about what had happened, but I wonder if that is the normal case. Probably I'm not the only one to keep my lives apart. Could it be that players and bloggers who have vanished from my horizon without any apparent reason, actually have died?

We prefer to find up other explanations. We assume they've just quit playing WoW, maybe they've uninstalled the game and quit cold turkey style since that was the only way they could do it? Maybe they just wanted a fresh start, so the named changed and moved to another server? That's what we tell ourselves, since we don't like the idea that something bad could have happened. Because if our fellow players turn out to be mortal, it implies the same about us and that's something we'd rather not think about.

But in the end I think that avoidance and refusal to acknowledge the existence of death is a bad strategy. I come to think of a story about the Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. As she grew old, it's been told that she used to begin her telephone calls to her sister with the words: "The Death, The Death, The Death". And with that topic out of the way they were ready to talk about other things.

Call the ghosts by their names, look them right into their eyes, and they'll be less scary.

And that's why I find myself talking about death on a Friday night rather than about raids instances and class nerfs, and you'll have to excuse me if I'm rambling a bit. It's not an easy topic to write about and now comes the part when it gets even more difficult.

A guild in shock
I'll go back to where I started, with Aurdon. His guild member didn't die from an accident. He committed suicide, and in his post Aurdon describes how deeply this has affected him as well as the guild. None of them had seen it coming.

"He was just as active in the guild as I and he participated in our voice chat like anyone else. In fact he was on the day before with no signs that would suggest anything was wrong. It’s an odd feeling knowing that he’ll never log in again. None of us knew he was feeling this way."
I can imagine the shock, the loss, the disorientation, the confusion you can feel in such a situation. And maybe some guilt too, even if it's not justified at all. In this way it's probably not much different to lose a guild member this way than it is to lose a real life friend or colleague. All those questions, hanging in the air. Why didn't we see this coming? Why didn't he talk to us, confide himself? We would have been there for him. Could we have done something to prevent this?

What makes it a bit different to a guild than to a circle of real life friends is the distance barrier, the fact that most of us never meet in real life. When you need to hug someone, you'll will have to settle with an emote. And even if a virtual emote can carry a lot of meaning, it doesn't bring you the physical feeling of another warm body and you can't help someone else wipe their tears. At the most you'll hear them over vent. It's not an easy situation to deal with.

How to handle it
Sometimes Azeroth becomes a shelter or a bubble, a place where we can relax and regenerate or simply kill our pain for a while; it can help us to cope better with issues we have in real life. But when the bubble bursts and the pain is right where you are, in the middle of the game, where else can you go?

There are ever so many brilliant guides out there, covering almost any aspect of WoW you could think of. But I've never heard of any guide to what a guildmaster should do in this situation. I suppose there just isn't any "correct" way of doing this. It's one of those things you have to improvise, letting your gut feeling take the lead.

Aurdon's guild decided to honor his memory by restructuring the ranks. The player and his alt were set to the highest awarded rank of "Rest in peace".

Another thing they did was to not shy away from talking about what had happened. Aurdon was informed immediatley about it by his guild master, as soon as he logged on. And then he blogged about it, and even if it mostly was for his own sake, I'm sure it helps the entire guild in this situation. Not everyone is capable of putting their feelings into words. It can be a relief when someone else does it so you can recognize yourself and maybe get a release for your own tears.

Aurdon ends his post turning directly to his guildie:
“I don’t know if you felt you would be missed or not but you are. I didn’t know you as well as I could have and I’m sure you could say the same about me. I can’t help but imagine that you might have felt your action would not have impacted those that didn’t know you so well. If so you were wrong. I am saddened by your choice and wish I had the chance to know you better. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those you left behind. You are missed.”
Aurdon decided to disable comments on his post, since he felt that all had been said. So before I wrote this post, I contacted him and told him about my plans.

He wrote back to me:

"You have my full permission to send anyone who might benefit from my post on over. Part of the post was simply for me to get it off my chest what I would have said to him and the other part was to reach out to others who might be struggling with the same issues. I barely knew the guy beyond his avatar and voice on voice chat but his decision impacted me quite deeply. That's the message I want people to know. You may feel small, unloved, insignificant, etc but there is always people who care about you."
Not scared of the abyss
People decide to end their lives for various reasons. Sometimes they know very well that there are other people around who care about them deeply, people who would do anything in their power to help if they could, but they go through with their decision anyway. "All you need is love" is a wonderful line, but unfortunately it's not entirely true, not for everyone.

Knowing all this, I will still second Aurdon. If someone around me, in the game and the blogosphere, carries this kind of thoughts and feelings and wants to share it, this pink pigtailed gnome is old and strong enough to listen. I can't guarantee that I'll say something incredibly wise that will make you change your mind - probably I won't. I'm as lost at the question of life and universe and everything as everyone else. But at least, know this: I don't shy away from darkness. The abyss doesn't scare me. And that's why I'm writing this post in the first place.

It's close to midnight and it's been raining for so long that I've forgotten when it started. Was it today or the day before? And where did this post begin? Oh yes, Deathwing. I made a silly remark and thought I wouldn't talk about him, but thinking closer about it, haven't I been doing that all night, talking about Deathwing?

He's coming for us, sweeping in over our lands the minute we last expect it. We can live many years, never seeing him closer than as a shadow in the distance, and we tell ourselves it was just a bird, or he's in the next village, and who cares about those people? Not our problem. If we even mention him, we laugh him away. But he's lurking in the shadows and he won't disappear no matter how much we pretend and when he grabs our friends, our families, our guildies, they won't come running back from the graveyard like they do in the game, as if nothing had happened. Death is death is death.

I'm running out of words, at last. So I'll just move a bit closer to the fire and sit here for a while in the silence, alone and yet in company.

This is for all of you who have lost someone you cared about as he or she decided to put an end to life. For all the thoughts and words in this post, for all my effort, I don't think I ever fully can understand what you've gone through. But I'm trying to. I'm not afraid of the darkness. Not a bit.

I've got candles.


Prelimar said...

i'm glad you posted this. i read Aurdon's post when it went up earlier this week (RSS FTW), and it hit me like a load of bricks. i had a RL friend commit suicide many years ago. it's just horrible, and i really feel for him and his guildies. every word both he and you said is true: you may think that nobody cares, but there are SO MANY who do. everyone touches other lives in so many tiny, memorable ways. i think about my friend at least weekly, when a route i take leads me past his old apartment building. i always look up at his patio, half-expecting to see him come out and wave down to me, just like he did every time i walked by before he died. but he won't ever do that again. it's heartbreaking. if anyone is seriously considering suicide, PLEASE reconsider and PLEASE call your local crisis hotline. there are solutions, and there are many people who care about you whether you realize it or not.

lady2beetle said...

Larisa, thank you. Your post, and Aurdon's, brought tears to my eyes. You really are an amazing gnome. I was especially touched by your return to Deathwing. I love metaphors and I think this game is so much more than we sometimes give it credit for being. I hope you don't mind if I quote you on a blogpost of my own.

Admittedly, I have thought about this before in other arenas. In this day and age, we all have a lot of long-distance friends. I have have friends who I have roleplayed with for over a decade. Friends who I met online, on livejournal, and friends who I met on WoW who I later became IRL friends with. And I've wondered, if something happens to me, will my surviving family know how to contact my friends and tell them what happened? I guess that's something I might have to put into my will, right after the statement of who will get "custody" of my kitty cats.

Thromean said...

Shortly after I joined our guild, of which I am now GM, one of our guildies mentioned in gchat something about needing more drugs. As I was relatively new, I didn't say anything. This happened a couple of more times, until I finally protested. I didn't want to deal with that crap in Gchat. Well.... It turns out that he was in the last stages of a battle with bone cancer and he needed more morphine to deal with the pain. As you can guess, I felt about the size of a grain of sand.

After he passed one of his friends got on and let us know and passed along his thanks for giving him an outlet from his hospital bed that allowed him to accomplish something.

To this day, Kxm and Kxr are memorialized in our guild and are exempted from our occasional rank cleaning of inactives and as long as our guild exists he will have a place where he will be remembered.

Everblue said...

One of my close friends threw herself under a train (we think - she didn't leave a note) a couple of years ago. Again, there was no sign, she was perfectly cheerful on the outside even an hour or so beforehand, although looking back we might with the benefit of hindsight have realised that all was not well.

It's difficult to work out what's going on in someone else's head.

Ratshag said...

This. All of it. It is a very decent, human post. Thank you Larísa.

A few years ago, a kind, funny, friendly, welcoming long-time member of my guild decided to end her life. It was a terrible shock to all of us, especially so for those who knew her outside of the game. Some of us had already been planning a large race event, and it made sense to dedicate it to her. Her family were WoW players as well, and ended up choosing to participate as well. Afterwards, I talked to her mother some, and she told me she thought her daughter would have thoroughly enjoyed it, and that she was grateful.

Why did this friendly, outgoing young woman with a family that loved her very much decide that she had to kill herself? I don't know, and never will. Probably no one will, entirely. Every year on April 23, there is a one-word post on Need More Rage. I'm sure it doesn't mean anything to most of my readers, but that's okay, because some of them know, and care, and I'm sure she would be cheered if she could see it.

My deepest sympathies to Aurdon, to his guild-mates, and to the family.

Apple said...

I have been lucky enough to not have anyone I know commit suicide, but I've come very close myself, more than once. Though I'm always saying and acting like I'm perfectly fine, I'm often not, as I struggle to balance my diagnosed but unmedicated Bipolar Disorder.

My girlfriend AJ and I have mostly the same circles of friends and communications, and she knows my passwords. If I were to pass away, she'd go onto my personal blog and make a post, and let various people I speak to over AIM know. But she isn't into WoW, and she doesn't know, necessarily, that I have friends in my old guild on Ysera who should know. She doesn't know that other than that, all she has to do is make a blog post on my WoW blog and everyone who needs to know will see it (as I have automatic links posted to Twitter, and my GL reads my blog).

I actually just went and made sure she'd think of that, and she said yes, she'd make a post on my blog, and if she forgets to log in and tell a few people, I guess I'll have to hope one of my couple of readers who know them will let them know. It seems a bit morbid, but... I wouldn't want anyone to be left hanging.

Steve - Kestrel's Aerie said...

Insights like these are why this blog is always a must-read for me. As my friend Ratshag said, "This. All of this."

Anonymous said...


I find your post to be decidedly self-centered and selfish (if read from the perspective that your demise would be self-induced).

How do you suppose it made her feel when you had that conversation? She would be the one left hanging...


Thanks for the post Larissa - as someone that's dealt with friends suicides, and the fallout left behind (wife, parents, children, siblings) it's a touching tribute to a former guildy.

When the level of stress your subjected to exceeds your ability to cope with it, it's only natural to want to end it all - however it's an absolutely undignified, selfish and dis-respectable course of action. I'd hate for someone to get the impression that it's ok, and they'd be immortalized forever as an unplayed avatar in a video game for a few years.

Kayeri said...

I haven't been through the death of a guildie, but we had one vanish... just over a year ago... Her brother logged on one night and said there was a family emergency and she couldn't make the raid... he then assured us everything was fine, but we never heard anything from either of them again.

A lot happens in a year. Of course, we all speculated as to what happened. Someone even insisted they'd seen her in another game, because of a similar name. Some thought she'd just quit, others thought maybe the family stepped in. I thought there might have been a substance abuse issue, I admit.

In that year, the old guild died and people have scattered a bit, mostly among three different guilds. But almost exactly a year later, her toon re-appears, and immediately contacts our old guild leader. Turned out she'd had a massive stroke, and a year later, was just recovering enough to the point she wanted to come back.

The stroke was bad enough they didn't even know if she'd live at first, so obviously the family have a lot more on their minds than a bunch of people she knew only virtually... but her Dad was VERY surprised to find out how many of us there were pelting him with questions about how she is doing and when we'll see her on again. I know I want to hug the stuffing out of her.

She's asked her father to get her toons ready for Cataclysm, as she wants to return and play again. She can walk and speak, but still has right-hand fine motor control issues... well, we are ALL over helping her Dad get those toons ready for Cataclysm, obviously.

I guess the point is that the bonds we make 'virtually' can have as much impact as those we make face to face. And that I'm very grateful we didn't lose her forever.

SpiritusRex said...

A truly heart-felt post, Larisa. I am saddened to hear this news and hope that all others that are considering taking their own life reconsider and reach out for help. We all have a reason for living, even if it is unclear to ourselves at times.

Oestrus said...

@ Anonymous: You don't get to call Apple "decidedly self-centered and selfish" when you're hiding behind an anonymous handle. Nothing is more self-centered and selfish than that. Go peddle your slop somewhere else, sir/madam.

Excellent post you wrote, Larisa and I was just as touched by the original post that inspired yours.

I have to admit, I have thought about things like that, too. Like what would happen if something happened to me and who would know, would anyone care - or vice versa - how would I know what had happened to someone I was gaming with.

There was a guildie that I used to run with who committed suicide, shortly after I left my original realm and people still have a hard time grappling with his loss and that was back in late Burning Crusade. I think people underestimate the depths of which we connect with people in this game. You could find a great love here, you could meet your best friend, you could mourn the death of an online friend. We feel just as much for our online companions as we could for our real life ones and possibly even more so.
This reminds me of that incident where a guild had tried conducting an in game funeral for one of their deceased members and then a rival guild on their realm (which was a PVP realm) came and slaughtered them all during the procession. It caused a huge ruckus at the time and I admit, I didn't see why back then. Now I do and I would be just as angry as if someone tried to do something that horrific again, at this point in time.

I think his guild did a really beautiful thing and are really honoring his memory in a great way.

Tesh said...

Great post, Larisa. We're all people after all, hm?

A wise man I follow once said something to the effect of "treat everyone you meet as if they have a huge problem, because almost everyone does", and went on to suggest that treating everyone with compassion might just help to alleviate whatever private griefs they deal with. It's not so much treating everyone as if they are broken, it's treating everyone as if you care about them. Because we should.

lonomonkey said...

This is the one topic I struggle to deal with. When I was younger a close friend of mine killed himself. Just like Aurdon I saw him the day before and I never suspected anything.

His suicide left me devastated and to this day I still can't get my head around it. I feel deeply for Aurdon and everyone one who was affected and I wish the them to best as they get through this.

Lume said...

We had somebody die from our guild, as well. Not just my current guild, but another guild I was in with him before as well. So we're talking someone I and a few others in the guild knew for several years.

He had already stopped playing with regularity in 2007. But he would occasionally log on. Because he always ran the 8-ball mod, it was an occasion whenever he'd log on for people to joke around and have fun. Andy himself was a funny guy.

But earlier this year, I noticed he hadn't been around for a few months. So I asked if anyone had seen him lately. A week or two later, someone told us he'd committed suicide.

It was a shock. At this point, you're not sure what to do. All I could do was grieve for a day or so. I posted on his Facebook wall and I've decided to leave his characters in the guild forever. Even if we hit 1000 people, I refuse to remove them. It's a reminder of the amazing person he was and the great times we had in the game.

One of our former guildies who knew him even did some community service in his name, trying to bring attention to teen suicide (he was in his late teens).

It's unfortunate that things like these happen. But even in our fantasy worlds, you can't escape reality. The best way to cope is to celebrate the time you've spent with these people, be it in the game, the real world, or both.

Apple said...

- I'm sorry if you read the comment that way, I was merely spinning off a bit from the points Larisa made. I have indeed thought about suicide in the past, but I have no intention of letting my life come to that - when life gets that bad, my coping mechanisms might be the healthiest, but they keep me going, and I intend to keep going as long as my body will let me.

But Larisa did mention how people wouldn't know if she'd passed unexpectedly, and it got ME thinking... what would happen if I were in a car crash, or... I don't even know, some non-self-inflicted, sudden death. And that's what I was talking about. My girlfriend AJ doesn't play, but because I love and trust her, I have an OMG WORST CASE EVER SCENARIO plan with her to make sure the friends I've made through this game aren't left wondering what happened to me.

Nikodhemus said...

Wonderful post, thank you for writing. Suicide is one of those things that is universally shocking, and in the context of an MMO where this is a person that you interacted with every day, it is something that most of us in this community do not have to deal with, and never consider.

I had a blog a year or so ago before I got heavy in Warcraft, and I wrote a post on my own experiences...

Careful of the language especially if you decide to read other posts, but this was a piece of my own work that I go back to from time to time.



Imraith Dos Santos said...

Thank you, Larisa.

Anonymous said...

I've been a follower of your blog for quite awhile Larisa. The thing is my condolences to the guys family/loveones. To his/her guildmembers. But I have a this POV that its very cowardly/selfish to take your own life just because it's not going the way you want it to be. He did not think about how it would affect others.

Like Aurdon stated there is always someone you can talk to. There are hotlines even if he had no friends/family. I know for a fact talking to someone would take a lot of weight off your shoulders. My friend had intentions of this but a support system showed him he was cared for.

I'm deeply sorry for his family and aswell as Aurdon. But what he did was wrong. There are so many alternatives that could have been people shouldn't just give up just because their cornered.

So please if theres anyone that is thinking about this KNOW SOMEONE CARES FOR YOU AND THERE ISN'T ONE PERSON THATS TOTALLY ALONE.

Sthenno said...

I was once on a drug that gave me constant, invasive thoughts of killing myself. When I was on it I had to lean against the wall in the subway when the train was coming to put myself off balance so I wouldn't be able to throw myself on the tracks if I was suddenly overwhelmed by the desire to.

If I had been taking a drug known to have a small risk of heart attacks and I had complained to my doctor about chest pain he would have acted immediately. But when I complained to my doctor about suicidal thoughts, his reaction was to wait a couple of weeks to see what happened. As a relatively health person in the 25-35 age range, I'm much more likely to die of suicide than a heart attack, but the threat wasn't viewed in the same way.

I am not sure whether I'll kill myself one day, much like I'm not sure whether I will die in an accident, from a heart attack, from cancer, or from whatever else. The death of a loved one is never easy, but I do think about the extra burden that would be placed on the people who love me if I did kill myself.

I think a lot of times people find it very hard because they had no idea their friend or family member felt that way. They didn't know it was even a risk. I've never talked to my wife about how she would feel if I killed myself. There's something of a risk/benefit analysis there: talking about it is raising a lot of painful feelings that don't need to be raised, and probably I won't ever kill myself.

I'm glad that Prelimar brought up crisis hotlines. I've volunteered at one and I know how great they can be. But I'd also like to point out that if you look in your community you can probably find supports for friends and family of suicide victims. I hope that everyone who is touched by suicide has all the support they need to carry on with their own lives.

Ratshag said...


Think about hiccups. For whatever reason, your diaphragm gets out of synch, and every few minutes does something really weird. You can hold your breath, and it eventually stops, or you can drink some water, and it eventually stops. Or you can do nothing, and it eventually stops. What you can not do is make it stop by using logic, or willpower, or a concern for how annoying it sounds to the people around you.

Now, think about the human brain. It is orders of magnitude more complicated than the the diaphragm. So complicated that it is always reprogramming itself in response to new experiences. Do you honestly think that it doesn't get out of synch too?

Well, it does sometimes. And, in worst-case situations, sometimes you perceive things differently. Ordinary tasks may look overwhelmingly hard. Minor embarrassments may feel horribly shameful. Negative feedback loops kick in, and the thought of asking for help can become more and more terrifying. And sometimes things become so off-kilter that killing yourself seems like the best solution. It can even seem like you'd be doing everyone else a favor. At that point, logic is no more of a help than it is for stopping hiccups.

Suicide is an act of despair, not cowardice or selfishness. I understand that it can look that way, from the outside. "Why didn't he just do X?" is an easy thing to ask. "Didn't she realize it would hurt the people who cared for her?" is another. What you have to remember is, it seems obvious and simple and easy because your brain is operating smoothly. Sadly, some people are not so lucky.

Rhii said...

Thank you for writing this Larisa, I am also in Aurdon's guild, and I also had a post up about this subject, but I got sort of overwhelmed by the whole set of circumstances and because I knew our guildie so briefly and superficially I set it to private only a day afterward.

I think it was so healthy that my guildies - especially those who knew our friend in RL - were able to talk about it so openly. I know they even shared a Molten Core raid story at his memorial.

I said in my (now hidden) blog post, that I wanted to acknowledge what had happened to him because it mattered and was important not to pretend like it didn't happen. I'm feeling a little hypocritical about that now... If you'll excuse me I'm going to head over to my place and make that post public again.

:) Thanks again.

Redbeard said...

I thought about posting something over on our blog when I read what had happened, but I decided to let Aurdon's (and Rhii's) posts stand for themselves.

Thanks, Larisa, for posting this and making the extra effort.

Noah Friedman-Biglin said...

This was a beautiful post Larisa. Thank you.

timefortincan said...

Thank you for pointing me to the post. I am fairly sure that if something were to happen to me or my husband (both WoW players) the last thing I would think to do would be to log on and say what's happened. But I know that the RL friends I would tell of the occasion would be able to filter the news through.

Like you say, the reasons for playing the game can be as a playful space, as a refuge, as a place to relax and let out different sides of ourselves, or a place to hide or deaden pain.

And death, whether foreseen or, more shockingly, through accident or suicide is one of those great taboos that we never talk about.

Thanks @Ratshag and @Tesh for your comments on this post - I thought they were really good as well.

My sympathies

mediocrepriest said...

*silently lights up a candle and sits by Larissa's side*

You are not alone

Sephrenia said...

Lights a candle, sits down and thinks of her Dad, who loved WOW too. I miss you Dad. I miss you so much.

Azryu said...

I used to be really self-concious about letting people know I cared about them, I always felt uneasy about exposing myself like that. After awhile though, after knowing someone who commited suicide, I knew I had to chance my ways because sometimes people simply need to know that someone cares, and actually hear them say that.

I'm happy and ecstatic to report that I am getting much, much better at it. I may procrastinate blunting stating "your an awesome friend man" until I feel its the right moment, but it will happen sooner rather than later.

I'm proud that I before I departed California I told my friend that I considered him to be one of my best friends, and that once I had a place of my own, he'd have the key to the front door.

It never hurts the other people to hear that they matter to you. I think it helps yourself just as much as it helps them when you let them know to be honest. Most of the times you will get confirmation that they feel the same!

Larísa said...

who commented:

Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and feelings after reading this post.

I was a little reluctant to leave the commenting section open since I was mostly away from computers over the weekend and couldn’t moderate anything inappropriate. But I needn’t have worried. You wrote about this in an honest and thoughtful way, and if there were any misunderstandings you sorted it out by yourselves. Thank you for all kind words and for daring to speak up. I definitely didn’t feel alone as I mentally was sitting by the fire, contemplating the issues of life and dead and what we mean to each other.

For you who like me feel a bit at loss about what to do if you have someone around you that you suspect have suicidal thoughts, I want to point you to a follow-up post written by Ardol at World of Warcraft Philosophized. It’s down-to-Earth and helpful, bringing a very non-phobic perspective on the issue.

Tam said...

I honestly don't know what to say - this is a wonderful post.

Carrie said...

I am a bit behind on my feed reader, so I apologize for the lateness of this comment.

But I wanted to stop in and mention two young men who were in my guild on Cenarion Circle who passed away this year, and light a candle for them.

It is rare to lose a guildie, and yet we lost two, a few months apart. Both were very sudden, they had been playing, participating in the guild, and then suddenly someone comes on and says that they're gone. Neither was suicide, at least as far as I know.

We had memorial services for them both in-game, on vent so people could share their feelings and sadness. The guild master created a rank for their characters, "The Immortal".

I still miss them. They were awesome people, and wherever they are now, I hope they are happy.