And with his passing… we are all a little less
For the last day I’ve experience the whole range of emotions related to grief. Anger, sadness, devastation, frustration, loss, and guilt.
I logged into WoW yesterday with the intend to do my 4 Kirin Tor world quests, get my rep token, and then level while herbing on my alt demonhunter. Someone in guild chat mentioned the news thread of the forums I semi-frequent (when I have the spoons to participate). I joined nearly 3 years ago and often still feel like a stranger there. My guildmates are made up almost entirely of folks from the community and in spite of my otherness-feelings, I’ve never been explicitly made to feel like an outsider. Most of that was a direct result of Mark’s influence.
The world was a much kinder and gentler and inclusive place while he was here and his passing leaves the world less than it was 2 days ago.
Our most recent twitter and bnet exchange was about cat food. He wanted to try to transition his adorable fluffball to dry food from wet food and was asking for advice on brands. I shared with him my experiences with food problems with my cat and he shared I could buy cat food on Amazon. Some of his last tweets were to me and were screencaps of Amazon on his phone.
At the end of MoP and the beginning of WoD I was left mostly guildless. And he insisted that I join <Serious Casual> because it was, in large part because of him exactly the guild I was looking for. The rules of no hate speech were upheld and enforced by all. New folks were warned and kicked if it continued. It truly was a welcoming environment and it was because Mark ensured it was that way.
I don’t remember how long we had been following each other on twitter but he was always available to provide a good pun and was impeccable at knowing when a joke was the worst possible response and instead offered only a /hug or support. He was wise beyond his years and far more intelligent than he ever let people know. Because it was never his point to make others feel less than he was. He used that wit and intelligence to boost others up. It was never flaunted to make others feel stupid.
He tended to spend more time in the SJW camp rather than the other side, but did so with grace that I often fail to maintain in my anger and frustration. He never pt others down, even if he didn’t agree with them.
Through twitter, WoW, and our private conversations I got to see and experience only a glimpse of the man he was, and I am forever changed for it. I’m sad for those who never got to know him. I’m sad I didn’t get to know him better.
I feel guilt because in all of this I keep thinking “I’m never going to get to meet him. We’ll never get to hug or have a drink or laugh at dumb shit.” The pain I feel probably pales in comparison to those closer to him, but it is no less because we never met.
He was one of my favorite people and I loved him.
I loved how much he care for his cat and I rooted for them both! He adopted a sick cat and she seemed to take a turn and I was so afraid for her. And him. But she pulled through and was one of the sweetest things. Their relationship is one of the best. The trust they built in less than a year is the best that it could have been, and I’m sad for her loss. She’ll have a great home if the next person treats her half as well as he did, but she was truly a princess in his life. He fought so hard for her life and she pulled through, and I’m mad because I couldn’t fight for him.
He had empathy oozing from the entirety of his being. He cared about the welfare and well-being of others around him. More than I deserved. More than many of us probably deserved.
I think the shock of his passing is what has affected me the most. I can’t begin to describe the profound emptiness I feel knowing that I will never get some joke tweeted at me again. That I won’t laugh at his complaints or ask him to explain something to me when I didn’t know the back story. He was so patient with me and others. And he never judged me for my curiosity. He never judged me, period.
I regret not telling him how much he meant to me before he passed away. The world really did lose a great person, and I am forever changed for the better for having had him in my life, however brief.
I will miss you, Mark. But I will never forget you.