This is a Really Real Widow Post.
This is one of those posts that’s been rolling around in my head for a few days now, but I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to say or how I wanted to say it, but I knew I needed to get it out, somehow.
Parker and I spent hours upon hours and days upon days immersed in Guild Wars 2 and after she died I tried to play for a few months but quickly realized that memories of her were waiting around every corner and I could no longer play.
Her last night alive I had logged into the game and left a hidden “I love you” for her to find the next time she logged on, and she wasn’t alive long enough to find it.
I have real life friends who I met in the game, people who grieved the loss of Parker right along side me. We spent a lot of time with these people, talking over the mic, discussing real lives and virtual lives and some of them I even met up with in person. It was just a game, but it was more than that, it was a game we played together. It was our space, something we spent time in, something we loved, discussing, cooperating, competing with each other.
Her ghost was everywhere.
I don’t watch TV, I can’t always get into books, and whenever I would look for something to get into for downtime, I would miss my days in the game. I tried to go back a few times but it never felt right. I tried other games, but there aren’t many games like it, that have the kind of community I found there. I tried repeatedly but couldn’t find what I was looking for.
But over time I’ve been able to play for an hour here, without connecting everything to her, or for a few hours there, without seeing her.
I’ve been playing the last few days and just realized that it’s no longer our game.
Her ghost no longer waits around the corner for me. I no longer connect all of the events or items to her.
Sometimes I’ll remember that she was good at this or that, and miss having her here to help me, or remember the times that I helped her with some other thing. But it’s no longer constant. I’ll remember the funny joke she made, or something she used to do.
And I can smile and keep going.
And yeah, it’s just a game, but it’s one more area I’ve gotten back from the grasp of grief. Slowly, one thing at a time I’ve had to take back all of the things that were ours. I had to find the new normal, I had to make them just mine.
It’s something I never wanted to do. But I haven’t had a choice.
I’m glad I got the game back.
There’s another post that needs to be written about me and gaming and moderation and mental health, but that’s a whole different thing.
Widowhood is strange. It’s a positive feeling when I manage to separate Parker from something so that I can have it back as something enjoyable, but at the same time it’s heartbreaking that I’ve been able to separate her from it.
Finding the new normal, still, two and a half years later.