In my pathfinder group, the DM and one of the players are uncle and nephew. They make up a lot of the soul of the group. They also go with me to LARP. I've known the older of the pair since High school. He's been through all the iterations of D&D with me. 3.0, 3.5. 4.0, Pathfinder. He's been with me in Warhammer since 5th edition and Warhammer 40k since 3rd edition. We've played Munchkin and Kobold's ate my baby. His nephew has been something of a fixture with us since he hit twelve. We knew how bad it sucked to be a nerd in a hick town, so we always took extra effort to include him. I've helped them both every chance I got.
Well today I was left with no way to help them. The cosmic DM rolled low. Their Brother/Father respectively died today during routine surgery. A Dislodged blood clot. 1. No chance of a saving throw.
Maybe it seems callous to parse this all in gamer terminology. But these two, a young man and a boy on the cusp of becoming a man have been such a big part of my life, and have been there during every experimental game and late night Anime session I've pretty much ever embarked upon.
I hate feeling sorry for myself. But I hate the feeling of powerlessness that comes with that dreaded phone call. I hate not being able to make them better. I hate seeing my friends upset. They are supposed to be jovial and full of quirk and witty nerd banter. Not crying in the hallway of the hospital. Not trying to figure out how to move on when a single father of 3 teenagers has just died. unprepared. unexpected. leaving his 19 year old son to take care of his 17 and 14 year old sisters, a house, a car, property taxes, all while he is still in high school. What kind of sick cosmic joke is it that this happened on Christmas Eve? You listen as they cry and moan and sob, you hug them and try to reassure them. You sputter, you inanely ask if there is anything you can do, and you probably, ridiculously say you're sorry. as if you did it and could take it back with a word.