Posted by Dourin (228 posts) -

I apologize if this meanders a bit, and isn't beautifully written like other blogs have been recently. I've so many things to say, but have been having a hard time putting words together to express it.

I don't like death. Ok, sure, no one likes death, but I super don't like death. I wouldn't go to my own funeral if I could help it. At my great grandmother's funeral with whom I'd never shared words, I bawled. Same with my uncle who I didn't care much for. I went to a friend's father's wake to show my respects, then ducked out before the funeral started. I suppose it's not death itself that bothers me. Obviously we all die. It's just a thing that happens, right? It's the memories that really get me. It's the fact that the person no longer exists.

I've followed the Giantbomb crew since I was 16 years old, peaking snippets of video reviews and On the Spot when my computer teacher wasn't looking. I was there for blonde, soft-spoken-as-fuck-and-super-awkward-on-camera Ryan. I was there for that crazy knife show video Jeff talked about on the Bombcast. I was there, obviously, for Kane & Lynch and the eventual forming of Arrow Pointing Down and birth of Giantbomb. I've followed what these guys have done for nearly half my life and enjoyed every god damn minute of content they've put out over the years.

Jeff was right in what he said on the podcast. Someone does need to put out a book on how to grieve in a post-social media world. I've never met Ryan in my life. Never exchanged a single word, be it in person, over a red phone, or via customer support e-mails. I've only ever experienced his magic over the interwebs by way of Quick Looks, Endurance Runs, BLLSL's, PAX Panels, Bombcasts, or exclusive reveals of Buckner & Garcia's latest hot jams. Upon hearing of his passing, I was suddenly struck with feelings that genuinely confused me, and made me think about how the internet has changed how friendships and relationships can form. I, along with many others in this community, formed an odd, one-sided bond with Ryan and the crew. One we didn't even realize had formed until Monday. It felt like I had lost a close friend. Someone I'd spent many hours joking around with, hanging out, playing video games, and flushing objects down toilets that had no business being anywhere near a bathroom.

The site was still here, but a void had been formed. Giantbomb had lost it's face man. Upon telling my wife of the news (I had to show her a picture of Ryan, as she doesn't read the site at all, but generally can figure out who I'm talking about based on a description or picture), her response was simple, but profound.

"Oh, him? But he is Giantbomb!"

I'm still not sure what it was about hearing those words from her, someone to whom Giantbomb was just a site on which I spent way too much time, but it struck me with a sudden realization: the emptiness and sorrow I'd felt all day were ok. It wasn't weird or confusing. She was right. Sure, obviously Brad, Jeff, Vinny, Patrick, Alex, Alexis, Matt, Andy, and any others I'm missing are all a part of what makes this site as awesome as it is.

But Ryan was Giantbomb. He was the host of just about every show this site has put on over the years, but more than that, he was the main attraction. The spotlight was on him, and god damn if it didn't suit him. As the guys discussed on the podcast, he was just always on, clearly having the time of his life any time those cameras were rolling and some dumb game was on screen (NO NO NO! DON'T SHAKE THE BABY!).

In some ways, we've lost Giantbomb. I mean, sure, the site will continue on, and it'll continue to be great. But without Ryan there, Giantbomb as we knew it has passed on with him. Now we painfully transition into Giantbomb: The Second Age, where things aren't worse, and definitely not the same, but will never be better than the Age of Taswell. It'll be different.

Just before starting this blog, I was finishing up the recent Bombcast. As the crew thanked Ryan for everything he's done, and all the ways he's enriched their lives like no one else on this earth could do, hearing their voices begin to crack for the first time on the site since the announcement, for the first time since my uncle's funeral five or six years ago, I let my emotions tear down the icy walls around my heart (the same walls that kept this motherfucker's eyes dry throughout The Notebook) and cried like you only ever cry when you've lost someone close to you. Because Ryan deserves those tears. Because in this digital age, you can have friends who you've never met, damn it. Social "norms" be damned. Because Ryan was a friend to all of us.

We've all lost our friend.

It's ok to cry.

Farewell, good friend.

#1 Posted by ADarkMatter (138 posts) -

Wow, I really liked your write up, you are spot on with the sentiment of loosing a close friend, it's something hard to explain but I couldn't have said it better, I still haven't gathered the courage to listen to the recent bombcast but I will eventually, I've cried a lot but we must be strong enough to stop grieving his death and start celebrating his life, it'll be hard since we've missed a loved one and that process is always painful but reading the way he and the bombcrew have been an inspiration to the community truly helps.

Thanks for sharing.

#2 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2494 posts) -

Nice write-up Dourin.

To me, Jeff and Vinny would be the closest thing to "they ARE Giant Bomb" - but that is quite beside the point (and perhaps linked to my love of Persona 4, haha).

But yes, I hope you're doing better now than you were on Monday or whenever it was. It feels like forever - and we're definitely going to talk about Ryan on air on Saturday whether you like it or not : )

#3 Posted by armaan8014 (5253 posts) -

Good blog man. Yeah Ryan had always been Giantbomb, but I like to think that while Giantbomb will definitely be different, it'll also be stronger and more epic in the memory of Ryan. As someone in the forums said, I hope they go the AC/DC route. (I don't know what that route was but it looked like they became stronger after losing one of their members, from what I read)

#4 Posted by WMoyer83 (585 posts) -

Thanks for validating my feelings. I too struggled with how awful this has been. It's nice to know that we are all in this together.

#5 Posted by oraknabo (1426 posts) -

I thought the book was an interesting idea when Jeff mentioned it, but I think it would still be difficult to cover a situation like this because it's such a special case. Ryan was so unique and connected with his audience in a way that I think is rare even online. Sure there are plenty of people on Youtube and twitter that will expose pretty much anything about their lives to anyone who is willing to pay attention, but I think Ryan was different. It feels weird because we don't simply think of ourselves as his fans, but we aren't all exactly friends of his either. It's more like losing a leader or a mentor. I guess the easiest thing I can compare it to was how nuts people went over Michael Jackson or Princess Di even though I'm pretty sure we were all a little closer to Ryan than that.

I've had this "online grief" happen two other times, the first was someone I used to talk to on a very small, close-knit message board about 10 years ago. The community was mostly people from the same 3-4 US cities and many of the members knew each other in real life. I'd never met him personally, but he was young and you could tell, even from his interaction on the message board, that he was a really great guy. When he died it shocked everyone in the community and, similar to Giant Bomb now, the board was flooded with threads full of members' memories of him, both online and off. I wasn't particularly close to him, but we had communicated over PM and email and probably would have met at some point if we'd had the chance. It hit me pretty hard because he was so young and it was so unexpected. It was a lot like what happened to Ryan, but the difference for me is that I am part of Ryan's audience and didn't have any kind of direct communication with him.

The other big bout of grief I got from the internet was when comics writer Steve Gerber died in 2008. This case straddles the line between online and real life, because even if I'd never talked to him online I was already a huge fan of his writing. More like in the case with Ryan, I was a member of Steve's audience both as a reader of his comics and as regular commenter on his blog. After years of being basically forgotten by the comics industry, he was starting to get some work from DC comics again and was doing some really great work. His Hard Time series from Vertigo was well received critically a few years before and he was doing a miniseries to reintroduce the superhero Dr. Fate to the DC Universe that was getting a decent amount of attention. He died before he could finish the final issue. Even though we all knew he was struggling with pulminary fibrosis, he was excited that he had gotten on a waiting list at UCLA to get a transplant. I have had good friends and family members die who didn't affect me as much. It was hard to talk about because it felt like so much more than "a writer I like just died" but I wasn't really a friend of his either. I really didn't have anyone I knew who could identify with it.

It has been a great comfort to see how affected the community here has been by Ryan's death. His age and how close it was to his wedding make it even more tragic and the fact that we all know and care about so many of his friends who are grieving for him now, but the real tragedy is what a unique and amazing person the world has lost. Going back and watching all of the old videos posted here really drives home how irreplaceable Ryan is.

#6 Posted by Dourin (228 posts) -

Wow, I really liked your write up, you are spot on with the sentiment of loosing a close friend, it's something hard to explain but I couldn't have said it better, I still haven't gathered the courage to listen to the recent bombcast but I will eventually, I've cried a lot but we must be strong enough to stop grieving his death and start celebrating his life, it'll be hard since we've missed a loved one and that process is always painful but reading the way he and the bombcrew have been an inspiration to the community truly helps.

Thanks for sharing.

Yeah, one point I forgot to revisit in the blog (because my mind was racing with all the things I wanted to say all at once) was that initial notion of death meaning the person no longer exists. It's actually something, after watching the "That's So Ryan!" video, that I've come to realize is amazing about the age in which we live. We live in a world where memories never need to fade and are only a Youtube link away. There are hundreds if not thousands of hours of the best of Ryan all over the internet for those times when we really just miss our buddy and need to see his face or hear that laugh of his. As long as we don't allow ourselves to forget (and Amazon's servers keep their shit together. Are they still on Amazon's servers after that incident?), Ryan will never truly be gone. In fact, speaking of which, I think I have some Endurance Runs to finally see through to completion...

#7 Posted by Dourin (228 posts) -

@armaan8014: I am also unfamiliar with the AC/DC reference, but if it means the dudes band together and reignite that old spark, I'm down. Alternatively, they could just band together and form a band. That would be okay too. Well....except no rap, @jeff, unless it means the rebirth of Rap Man.

@wmoyer83: Absolutely man. It took a few days for me to really come to terms with it all, and I'm just glad this write up has helped even one person feel ok about grieving for a dude on the internet.

#8 Posted by CaptMagic123 (25 posts) -

I must admit, I also shed the tears one only sheds after losing a close friend after hearing the news. It hit all of us pretty hard from out of no where.

The best thing we can do is keep Ryan's memory alive, keep the fire that is Ryan Davis burning. We will be able to move forward, but with out Ryan's infectious laugh and witty comebacks, it just wont be the same.

#9 Posted by Mandaray (158 posts) -

You're wrong.

This is beautifully written.

#10 Edited by On1inepersona (119 posts) -

Great write up man.

#11 Posted by mrmanga (219 posts) -

Thank you so much for writing this. I will especially thank you for the ending part, ive been kind of beating myself up over how i cry for someone i dont even know personally. But you are right, it is ok to cry. The only thing i am thankfull for is that the videos and other media featuring Ryan, is probebly always going to be avaiable. Again thank you for this.