Someone I knew only on-line has died.
We met in EQ. I joined a new (to me) guild after my previous guild broke up when the folks who started it up decided to leave the game. I was in a place where I wanted to play, wanted to raid casually, wanted that community, but really didn't want the drama that had been part of my former guild.
I'd gotten to know a few people from different guilds, and the one I joined had good people, but of course, it wasn't my familiar guild. (yet. It got to be.)
S was one of the guild officers, and a tank, a really solid tank and a better person. He wasn't flashy, but he was thoughtful and smart and decent. He fit well in the guild because thoughtful, smart, and decent would characterize most of the people there pretty well.
I saw a posting on effbee about S being ill, but didn't know what was up until I sent a message to D, a mutual friend, and found out that he was really, really ill. And then he died. And now I'm mourning someone I think of as S, when his real name wasn't S at all, someone I've never actually met but knew in this one limited way.
In EQ, death is a pretty frequent thing for avatars. That's especially true of folks who raid, though probably truer for folks who raid more intensely than we did. Nonetheless, the game has built in ways to deal with death; you can just loot your corpse and lose experience, or get a cleric to rez (resurrect) you and get some amount of your lost experience back. (If you lose your corpse, then you lose everything you had on it, but that probably hasn't been an issue for a long, long time.)
Death is so frequent in EQ, especially on raids, that I remember lots of corpse art after wipe outs; the monks who were dragging corpses would arrange them just so, in lines or patterns, and then take a screen shot before everyone got rezzed in.
But that's not how things work off line. S will not get a rez, will not loot his corpse, will not wait for the mana folks to start buffing so we can get back to raiding.
Today, there are postings on S's effbee page; I put one up, but it feels weird to do so. I vaguely recall reading at some point that the company would store the pages of people who died if someone requested it, so that the pages would be available, but given how fleeting things are in the digital age, I don't think that's going to be quite the same as a newspaper record or grave marker.
Good bye, S. I miss knowing you are in the world being kind, and thoughtful, and decent.