I have played a lot of online games and have met some amazing people. Not just people here in my own country but people all around the world and all ages, some I have even had the good fortune to meet. Over time many have become friends and those included my dear friend from Canada. I love him as a mate, enjoy his humor, his company, wit and the things we discussed were wide and varied and always interesting. He made me laugh and forget my own troubles – he was company in the wee small hours as we chatted, laughed and played online games together.

We met playing a game which was created by a New Zealand team of developers and was in its beta stages – Path of Exile. I had never played one quite like that before and as we were groping our way through the beta version, I had teamed up with some other kiwis and he was already part of that group. He had heaps of knowledge around how to play getting heavily into the mechanics and would mix things up with his crazy character builds that shouldn’t have worked but were amazing – it was so much fun and I loved the banter and the comradery we enjoyed both as a group and with him alone when no one else from the group was online.

We became firm friends as he kindly took me under his wing and taught me how to get the most from this stunning new game. As we progressed and my knowledge increased, the only thing holding me back was that my characters kept being killed when I stopped to type an answer to his chatter. He would get so frustrated with me as it was always high level characters just about to get into the fun part of the game. So, eventually, we started voice chatting as we played and I didn’t mess things up losing my higher level characters quite so often.

We played that and other games and sometimes just chatted for around 5 years. He was severely depressed, which included some self harm and was undergoing some pretty awful treatments to see if they could help him. He had moved in with his parents whilst going through a divorce and I was so excited for him when he told me he was thinking of moving into a place of his own but he did warn me he wasn’t sure of the internet status where he was going, nor when he would move in (if at all).

I didn’t hear from him for a while, assuming he was moving house, setting up and maybe had no internet, I had found without someone to enjoy the game, with it wasn’t as much fun so I didn’t play as often. I was missing his company quite a bit and looked forward to the return of my friend to bounce ideas and character builds off.

While life moved on and time passed, he was always in the back of my mind. I missed him and the chats we were so used to having. I changed jobs/work hours, renovated parts of my home and I hoped he was happy somewhere enjoying the freedom of his own place and in a way I was glad he wasn’t online so much because it meant he must have finally been content to do other things. I thought of him often but was playing less games so assumed we just hadn’t been on at the same time. Although time passed and I had inklings something was wrong, knowing I should have seen him at some stage, I wouldn’t let myself think about something bad happening to him and passed off his absence for a multitude of reasons. I had left messages for his son a few times asking how he was, but there was never any answer. I assumed the divorce was messing with their relationship so didn’t want to push things in case it made his son uncomfortable. His kids were his whole world and it made me sad to think they may be no longer seeing each other.

Finally one day out of the blue, his son answered one of my queries. I found out that my friend had committed suicide the day after we had last spoken. The knowledge was devastating – he had been such an amazing and supportive friend, a really nice person and the knowledge of his loss devastated me. Although his passing hadn’t been recent, my knowledge of it was – as – when I had finally got an answer from his son – it was almost a year to the day he had died.

I don’t know how he died, just that he took his own life as he had wanted to for so long. It was discussed in so many of our conversations so many times over the years I had known him that yes, I had taken his threats seriously. He was so open with me about wanting to end his life, the pain he was in, and the treatment he was getting for the depression, I assumed he had an amazing support network around him and stupidly thought if he spoke about it he would never actually do it. With around 14,800 kms between our worlds, friendship, support and words were all I could to offer and I am so sad i wasn’t able to do more. I have to comfort myself in the knowledge that we never truly know why people take their own lives no matter how much they tell you about themselves or that you know about them, there is always part of them self that no one ever knows and I think you aren’t meant to. It was his choice – now those of us left behind have to live with his choice.

One more special person, one more bright soul gone from this world – I still tear up thinking of him but I pray he is at peace now as he was so tortured in life. Our friendship was nothing more than two people loving the same thing, genuinely enjoying each other’s company and conversation – two people who would never have met if not for the internet but would have been really good friends in real life had we ever met face to face. Whilst I am grateful I know what happened I bleed for the pain he had to be feeling to take that final action.

To Gord: I miss you terribly and you will be remembered with deep fondness. I am gutted you thought this was your only option… I hope to see you again one day.

 To anyone out there that is feeling like there is no tomorrow please just remember

Someone somewhere loves you

YOU DO MATTER!

The fact you can breathe is amazing

…please don’t give that up!