By TheTravis 0 Comments
I have a recurring dream where people I look up to die. Not friends or loved ones usually, but personalities that I care about and respect. Musicians, writers, that sort of thing. I still distinctly remember the last time I had this dream, an especially vivid version of it. It was only a couple of months ago that I heard that the lead singer of one of my favorite bands had died in a car accident. I especially remember thinking how bad I felt for his wife.
But then I woke up. The feelings from the dream stayed with me for part of the morning, but it was all okay, because none of it was real. Well, now it's not a dream. I wish it was so goddamn bad, but all evidence points to this being real. Ryan Davis has died. Even just typing that feels surreal. I literally struggle with believing it. Maybe it's just a really vivid dream. But probably not.
So what now? Do I mourn? Of course I do. In the relatively short time I've known about Giant Bomb, Ryan's voice has become ingrained in my head, and I've spent each week looking forward to the shenanigans that he and the crew would provide. Now that's gone, and it's never coming back. Not like it was. So yes, I mourn.
More than for me, though, I mourn Ryan's loss on the behalf of others. Ryan entertained and in many ways inspired me, but I know I can't feel his loss as much as those close to him. I think of Jeff, one of his best friends, who has to deal with this and try to lead the rest of Giant Bomb through it. I think of Patrick, who lost a close friend on the same goddamn day he lost his father one year ago. I think of Ryan's new wife Anna, who lost her husband after being married for five fucking days. I grieve and weep with them, but I can't even begin to imagine the sort of pain that they and everyone else who was close to Ryan is going through. So yes, we mourn.
But while mourning is natural, I can't help but think about Ryan's life. Look anywhere on the internet where video games are discussed today, and you'll find tons of people with nothing but positive things to say about Ryan. He left nothing but joy in his wake. The very fact that people who never met him are so moved by his passing speaks volumes about Ryan and his legacy. People will remember the tragedy of his death, to be sure, but we'll also remember the watching him struggle with a virtual horse to which he was introduced again and again. We'll keep laughing at his comments on Assassin's Creed II's violence, and just how "oddly satisfying" it is. We'll smile as we picture his pure, unbridled joy at seeing a young Brad Muir talk about his first game. We'll think of him drinking anonymous breast milk, and sitting on a cake, and flushing a pie down a toilet, and far too many moments to list. We'll hear his voice in our heads informing us what day it is (as long as it's Tuesday.) Ryan's legacy is not only that of a person tragically taken from us too young, but of someone who brought so much happiness and joy to people's lives.
Perhaps it could be said that the best measure of a person's life is how much he or she made other's lives better. If that is the case, Ryan had a great life. I know that in times when I've been depressed or worried, I've been able to go to Giant Bomb and be comforted. Today I've seen a number of people in the industry say that they wouldn't be where they are without Ryan Davis. Ryan did more to make people's lives better than most anyone can or ever will be able to say they did, maybe even more than we'll ever know. Simply put, Ryan was one of the best people on the internet. I think Stephen Totilo put it best when he said "Should we live twice as long as Ryan Davis, let's hope we make people smile at least half as much." If we could all achieve that, we would be very lucky indeed.
RIP Ryan. Peace Out.