I buried my father's body last Friday, after a week of funeral planning, receiving relatives paying their respects, comforting Mom, and a myriad of little things that need to be done when people pass on from life. It was not a fun week.
I haven't logged on to EVE Online for two weeks. As Dad was fading away towards his inevitable end, and while dealing with the post-death aftermath which followed, flying around in a make-believe spaceship and playing in a make-believe universe seemed grossly inappropriate.
Yesterday, I started my PC with every intention of checking on my characters' status in New Eden, but when the launcher screen appeared, I simply stared at it for five minutes, and then decided that it wasn't yet time. I just didn't feel up for it, so I shut it down.
I'll log in this weekend. If nothing else, I'll wave hello to my corpmates and chat a bit. It'll be good therapy for me, and help lift the burden of sadness, I am sure.
But not today. I'm not ready to let myself have fun, just yet.
The Invisible Safety Net
After my Dad died, I posted this tweet on Twitter:
I simply wanted my fellow EVEophiles to know why I wasn't going to be visible for a while. I didn't really expect more than a few replies, if any. My tweet was personal, and not EVE-news driven.
But over the next three days, I got over 150 replies of sympathy and sincere good wishes, and not just from my Twitter followers, but from many others in the #tweetfleet group.
I also received some very touching e-mails - a couple of which told me of their own personal stories of loss, and how they dealt with it. More than a dozen players sent me direct messages, offering their own time, if I just wanted someone to talk to about things. The #Broadcast4Reps folks reached out and reminded me that they were there for me, if I needed a patient ear or two.
I got messages of encouragement and support from EVE Online friends and acquaintances in Slack channels, through the couple of EVE-related forums I peruse from time to time, and in comments in this blog.
Over all these different channels of communication, I received more than a couple of hundred sincere and heartfelt messages of support, all from EVE Online players. All generated by one little tweet.
Despite my temporary lack of enthusiasm for actually logging into the game, I feel more connected to my fellow EVE Online players than ever. Over the last couple of weeks, I've been moved to tears by the outpouring of kindness that I've received from other players of the game. I didn't fully understand it before, but I now know that I have had an invisible safety net of support for quite a while. I just didn't realize how big and beautiful it was until this past week.
It feels a little overwhelming, and I'm humbled greatly.
EVE Community, Best Community
It has been said recently that "The EVE Online community does not exist."
If my experience over the last two weeks has proven anything to me, it is that the EVE Online community not only exists, but it is amazing, and little understood or fully appreciated until one calls upon it for support. I have consistently found that the players of EVE Online, by and large, are generous, kind, sympathetic and eager to contribute their time and treasure in support of those in need - not only those who are fellow players of the game, but to many other charitable causes as well.
Sure, we have a few narcissistic jerks in our midst, as does any community, but I've learned that although they often get a lot of attention, the antisocial twits represent a very tiny minority. As I meet more and more EVE Online players online, in social media, at local meet-ups and at Fanfest, I marvel at how good-natured our merry band of space-nerds truly are, and how much fun they are to be around, even when they shoot you with a big grin on their face.
And my, how quick they are to come to your aid, in a time of need.
So, I want to say: thank you, fellow capsuleers, for being there for me when I needed some kind words, and a virtual hug. You made a difference, and helped me to endure a very trying time.
The EVE community is the best community, and I'm so happy that I am part of it.
Fly safe! o7