They say you can only appreciate the best things in life when you’ve faced the worst things. I don’t know who “they” are but I can tell you they have a point. I’m going to do something I rarely do and get personal here. This is my story.
A little over two years ago, my wife died, and my world collapsed.
It was indescribably awful. No words can paint a picture as bleak, you have to have been there yourself to comprehend how everything changes, horribly, in an instant. My love for her didn’t die, but she did, and I was alone. A lifetime of plans and dreams and memories, all gone, all overwritten with gray funereal tones and grief.
I don’t talk about it. I told everyone I was okay, but I wasn’t, not at all.
My kids kept me going, they were devastated too and they needed me to hold it together. My parents helped. And my brother. And my friends. My DDO friends pitched in during the worst times. They sent me food and hand-drawn notes from their children. Clearly I have found actual friends, not just gamer friends but actual friends, here on DDO.
But mainly it was my kids, through their constant worrying and fretting, and also through my duty to them.
And love? Yeah right. I’d had my love. It was great, I never regretted it even with her untimely ending, but I just figured I had used up my life’s allotment of love and that was that.
I was off the game for a little while but I needed something to keep my brain occupied and there it was. I had to go back to work, of course, and soon developed an empty routine of working, gaming, sleeping. Lots of gaming.
Thank you for being there DDO! I paid you to be my 24/7 companion, but as an electronic escort I found you to be well worth the tiny monthly fee you charge. Less than a night at the movies, not that I would know because as it turned out, I am not the kind of guy who goes to movies alone. But DDO doesn’t care if you are alone. Perfect!
Time passed. Holidays. Trips. I filled my schedule with travel because I could. I managed to have some fun and do some things I’d always wanted to do.
I was not “better”. I’ve come to the conclusion that one never gets “better”, you just get more used to being damaged.
I met a girl in my guild. Not that this is unusual, for whatever reason my guild attracts couples and there are generally several girls in the guild. But this one was single, and funny. That kind of thing didn’t matter for me anymore, but I enjoyed gaming with her. Her name was Yvonne.
Another of the girls in the guild told me that she thought Yvonne liked me. Good to know, everyone wants to be liked, right? But nothing that affected me personally, it was too soon, I just wasn’t thinking like that. “Give her a chance” said the other girl. I mentally filed the information away and moved on. Things to do. Flights to catch. Games to play.
But it did start me to wondering, if I was going to date again, what kind of girl would I want? A purely intellectual exercise; with the freedom to put anything I want on my list, what would be in the top five?
- Has to understand I am a Dad and be okay with that
- Has to be bright and funny / has to be happy
- Should be a gamer
- Has to be affectionate and warm
- Would be nice if she was cute
Number One started out being “has to genuinely like my kids” but my daughter pointed out that was unfair, and even unlikely, with three kids. Number two is really two things because I kept changing my mind about what goes there.
So apparently I was starting to think about these things again, because I did have my list.
This girl Yvonne and I began spending a lot of time together. It wasn’t something I was doing on purpose, it just worked out like that. I always had that “give her a chance” thing in the back of my mind but in all honesty it was way, way in the back. Behind last night’s leftovers. Even behind the expired mayonnaise. Yet it was always there.
But then one day Yvonne told me directly that yes, she really was attracted to me.
She is such a brave person.
I was surprised to find that I was attracted to her too. I told her as much. It really was still too soon for me, yet we had exchanged attraction. The die was cast.
Over time I became more and more comfortable with the fact that I was going to have these feelings again, and that they were focusing on Yvonne. We started “DDO dating” which of course is not really dating at all, but is a reasonable facsimile.
The pseudo-dating was the best thing that could have happened. It is weird to feel like you are cheating on your wife when she’s deceased, but I did, and I needed a very gentle and patient person to give me the time and space to work my way through things. It helped that Yvonne was 3000 miles away.
Eventually we met up in real life, at a neutral site that was equally inconvenient for both of us. Instant fireworks! But still, safe, because at the end of the weekend we went back to being 3000 miles apart.
We began to exchange regular visits. Last year she even joined me at GenCon. She’s got some serious gaming skills! During these visits we began encountering each other’s family. Every time she was going to meet one of my kids she would be so nervous! And every time it worked out perfectly and soon everyone was laughing together like best buddies.
And fireworks every time. She is seriously attractive.
I invited her to spend Christmas with us and she did, spending three weeks at my place over the holidays. Everything went so well and so smooth and yet was also so fireworky.
I revisited “the list”.
- Likes my kids: Check!
- Happy, bright, funny: Check!
- Gamer: Check!
- Warm and affectionate: Check!
- Cute: Check and check!
It’s been more than two years. I have acted with decorum and honored my late wife’s memory. I finally came to realize that loving Yvonne is not cheating; Sheila is gone but I am still here and I get to be happy. And I really do love Yvonne. With all my heart.
On Wednesday, I am getting on a plane. I disembark in Portland where my girl Yvonne awaits. There will be some packing and then she, her cat, and I pile into her truck and commence a cross-country journey that ends back where I started, my house. Except it won’t be my house anymore it will be our home; Yvonne is moving in.
Can you imagine packing everything up and moving 3000 miles just to be with someone like that? She is so very brave.
I would never have met her if not for DDO. Considering it is just a game, a commercial enterprise, DDO has given me a lot. But nothing tops the fact that DDO helped me get the girl.
I will be off the blog for the next couple of weeks. For the very best reasons.
Got to go get my gamer girl!
🙂 😀 🙂