The past three years, December 5th has been a bit of a tough day. One of the people I hold in the highest esteem from my days in EVE Online passed away due to cancer, and his birthday is always a tough day (granted, it doesn’t help when Facebook goes “HEY! Wish your friend a Happy Birthday!”). We knew he was sick, and going in for surgery for unrelated issues, and we knew he had cancer, but it grabbed him hard and fast without much time for treatment.
Thulle was one of those guys who is gruff and off-putting at first encounter. An asshole, if you will. But that was a mask hiding the great big ol’ Teddy Bear he didn’t want you to see underneath–at least for the people he made a connection with. Chaide and I were lucky enough to be folks that he did make a connection with.
We’d spend hours in EVE not doing much outside of chatting in TeamSpeak and waiting to do whatever it was we were going to do for the time we were online. And you really get to know someone when you spend that much time with them. I won’t inundate you with stories, but I have a lot of them of how he helped me better understand combat. How he would skirmish with me to help me get a better grasp of things. How he would take the time to help me put together ships based on load outs that wouldn’t cost me my firstborn child. Lots of stories, and lots of laughter. And I miss him on a daily basis.
We had invited him to our wedding in July 2013, but he was going in for some surgery at that point, and wouldn’t be able to make it to the shindig. Little did we know it was one of the last times we’d get to chat with him.
“Yes, but he was an internet “friend”!” you exclaim. Yes, he was. But that doesn’t mean that the friendship we’d forged is any less than someone I would see on a daily basis.
Friendship is Friendship
Gamers, particularly MMO Gamers, spend hours upon hours daily, weekly, and monthly with the same group of people. Day in and day out. These are the people you tell about your work days, the big milestones in your life, and more.
These are the people you invite to your wedding because you’ve spent so much time with them. To hell if you’ve never met them “in real life”! They’ve been there for you for so long that they’re family.
The relationships you make online, and the friendships that come from these are things to be cherished. And they are just as real as the friendships you have offline–if, arguably, not more so.
So to Thulle–thank you for showing me that the friendships we forge online reach beyond that. And fly safe, dude. Drink a beer up there for us. o7