Someone I loved is lost. Is he gone forever? I may never know.

Back in Wrath, I had the pleasure of raiding in our old guild, ThoseGuys, with some great people who no longer play WoW.

One of these was a resto druid; I’ll call him Das. While I was in my early-mid thirties at the time, he was in his late forties. He was a guy with whom I had countless great conversations on vent. He loved jazz, blues, and timeless rock and roll, and would often suggest internet radio stations that he thought I might enjoy. He worked as an independent contractor for a time, setting up and maintaining (as I understand it) internet and communications infrastructure for the military in the Middle East. He was a carpenter, and loved to show photos of his latest woodworking creations, particularly cool furniture that he had built and was trying to sell.

He always said he loved my voice; he called it a “radio voice.” (I do not have a radio voice, FYI.)

During that period of my WoW-playing life, a lot of us were friending one another on Facebook, because it was the thing to do, and it was fun. It also became my sole line of communication with Das, because, due to financial problems and a computer that could no longer handle the game, he quit somewhere around the time that ICC was coming out.

Since then, my experience with Facebook has been intermittent. During the latter half of 2011 – a time when I was using it more regularly – I noticed at a point that Das was no longer my friend. However, since we had messaged one another several times through FB, I clicked his name in one of our messages and went to his page. There was almost nothing on it that I could see. So I sent him a message, both to see how he was and to let him know that we weren’t ‘FB friends’ for some reason. He replied in a long message, telling me that he had un-friended everyone one night in a fit of frustration, adding that it was a “it’s not you, it’s me” kind of thing.

In that message, he told me that he was in a dire situation. He was divorced, broke, and homeless, living with his daughter for a while, although that wasn’t going well. He had no prospects; his money-making projects were all failing miserably. It was an extremely sad message.

At the time, I was also jobless, and powerless to help him. I sent him a response, trying to be encouraging to him, and to let him know that I was there to talk, but he never responded, and he never accepted my re-friend request.

However, he didn’t disappear. He continued to post from time to time on Facebook, ‘publicly,’ videos or articles that he found worth sharing, but there was little direct insight into how he was doing in his life. However, since I wasn’t his FB friend, none of it was in my feed, and I lost track of him.

Fast forward to this past Friday. I was puttering around on Facebook late at night, looking through my list of old messages out of sheer boredom. I know, that’s pretty lame, right? Well, anyway, when I got to his name, I clicked to his page to see what he was up to, and I was stunned by what I found.

His last post was from March 31st of this year. Here is the text of the post:

its been a ride. i tried to live well, be kind, help people… I can’t do it anymore. I have no friends, family doesn’t care about me, penniless and I just can’t stand to wake up another day like this.
I hope that every one that I care about has a good life, live long in good health and can keep their friends. obviously, I can offer no good advice. good bye

I was shocked to the core.

The feeling you get when you suddenly fear that someone you care about either is about to commit suicide or may have already done so is a feeling that is incomparable to any other. It’s difficult to describe, but it’s basically panic, and it grips your soul with an iron fist.

My response to the panic was to do several frantic searches. These proved to be basically fruitless, since I know almost nothing about his vital statistics, such as names of family members, names of people who knew him in real life, place of residence, middle name, date of birth, and so on. As I said, he had erased all of that from Facebook. The only things I had to go on were his first and last names (very common ones), the state he had been living in, and his approximate age.

I first searched for obituaries. I searched for arrest records. I changed it up and searched for death notices. Carpentry references with his name. I came to several dead ends. I couldn’t find him – not, at least, without paying a bunch of money to be able to do more in-depth searches of public records and so on. Money I don’t have, I might add.

I sent him a quick email, to the only address I have for him. It immediately came back un-deliverable. I pasted it into Facebook and sent it again. I have heard no response. The only phone number I had for him, from 2010, has been dead for a long time.

When I had exhausted my free options to the best of my knowledge (which is admittedly limited), the next phase of the affect of panic hit me: I became incapable of doing anything for the better part of an hour. I stared at my desktop and wrung my hands. When my girlfriend came over to me and asked what was wrong, I could barely tell her.

Eventually, I got up and went to bed, and was up bright and early Saturday for work. And Saturday night, we raided. And so on. The initial panic was gone, but the fear that my friend is dead is not.

I may never find out what happened to Das. I’m already four months ‘too late’ as it is, as regards my searches the other night.

I have to accept that. But I hate it. My only hope is that he is still alive, and that he will rejoin Facebook and respond to my message at some point. But it feels like a dim hope, a chance of slim-to-none.

This post is the first of at least two related to this situation. There is something that I have been considering doing lately – an alteration to the way I do things on the internet – and what happened on Friday only reinforces what I’m thinking about. I will likely write more about if and what I decide to do in one of my next few posts.

Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc.

7 Comments on “Someone I loved is lost. Is he gone forever? I may never know.”

  1. Nev says:

    oh that is such a sad story & I know how hard it must be not knowing what happened. There are a number of old friends I wonder about too but we never even exchanged Facebook details so I’ll never know either. {{{hugs}}}

    • Mushan says:

      Thanks, Nev. There’s a whole wide range of things running through my brain right now concerning the effects and consequences of the types of casual relationships we run into / develop / don’t develop in this modern internet/online gaming age, and I think most of the time we don’t even think about them.

  2. Reading this gave me chills. I too have friends that I often wonder what happened to them, but I guess that’s the price we pay for forming friendships online sometimes. *hugs*

    • Mushan says:

      Yeah, and most of the time they move on with their lives, and sometimes you find that out, and sometimes you don’t. And when you read something like this, it’s the worst. Thanks, Velgana.

  3. Jaedia says:

    I came here via Nev’s post.. this is the kind of thing that has worried me since I started befriending people on the internet. If somebody we’re friends with through the internet, which doesn’t make them any less important to us as some might believe, dies.. well.. I’d like to know so that I can mourn them. If they simply disappear without a word or trace, it’s too easy to think they’ve simply become bored of you and forget them. People like this deserve to be remembered. I really hope you find some peace on this matter because that is a horrible thing to have on your mind. *hugs*

    • Mushan says:

      Yes, it has worried me too. Hopefully some people can take from this post that those relationships can be just as important, because everyone is a real-life person, and will take that into consideration before disappearing. Nev’s post was very insightful about these issues, too, and hopefully it will strike a chord with people as well. Thanks, Jaedia.

  4. […] The second person is a personal friend. We had mutual admiration for each other. And the uncertainty over his current situation is disconcerting, to put it extremely mildly. Whatever happened, I’ll always have great memories of our friendship. […]

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