First off, sorry for another long weepy post about Ryan. I know the forums have been overloaded with them and I hope that I can offer some sort perspective worth reading but no promises. I couldn't just write nothing though. I'm sorry if this sounds corny or overly dramatic or whatever. I'm fairly sure it does but oh well.
I've got a couple ways of dealing with stress or sadness in my life. One of them over the last five years has been Giant Bomb. I could always count on the site having a new Quick Look for me to watch, a podcast to cheer me up and an upcoming live stream to get me excited. I spent my formative teenage years on Giant Bomb. When the site launched five years ago, I was right in the middle of high school, still trying to figure out who I was. I fully believe that Ryan and the rest of the Giant Bomb guys helped make me the person I am today. When I first came to this site, I was a complete goddamn idiot. I had no idea how the world worked and I thought I was way too cool for all these "internet people." Five years later, I'm still pretty stupid but I've grown immensely as a person. Some of that just comes from moving through life but I truly believe that I owe so much to these guys. They taught me so much more than just what video games to buy.
Yesterday, I was on my lunch break when I looked at my phone and saw a tweet from IGN's Greg Miller that read "So sad. @taswell will be profoundly missed." My first thought was "oh jesus, first Patrick moves to Chicago, now Ryan is leaving the site too?!" The thought of death never entered my mind. These guys don't die. That's stupid. They just play video games. How could Ryan Davis die? When I clicked the link and saw the headline, I felt my heart shatter. There was the initial feeling of disbelief, the feeling of "this is a joke, right?" It didn't make any sense and it still doesn't.
I spent the rest of the work day numb. Just staring listlessly, not getting much done at all. When I got home, I watched Harmonix's tribute stream and shed my first tears. It was when I saw a picture of Ryan and John Vignocchi at the wedding.
Two people who were always so full of energy and who were so genuine. It killed me to know their friendship was gone. It just doesn't seem right. The tears came in waves the rest of the day and when I woke up this morning, it felt like I haven't slept at all. I'm lucky enough that my job allows me to work all day with my headphones in. I knew I couldn't bear to go back and listen to old Bombcasts so I went to my secondary coping measure: music. But it wasn't helping. Everything was going in one ear and out the other. I still couldn't focus. Then, inspired by Harmonix's tribute stream, I put on Daft Punk's Random Access Memories. From the opening chords of "Give Life Back to Music", it just felt right. Every song reminded me of him. Access Memories is an album about celebration. Celebration of music, of life, of good times. I can't think of a person who embodied that more than Ryan Davis.
We are so lucky that Ryan left us so much to remember him by. Hundreds upon hundreds of hours of podcasts and videos. If I ever want to remember his voice, his laugh or his incredibly foul mouth, I have those and that's truly a gift. But remembering a person's spirit is a much harder thing to capture. Remembering the happiness that they enriched your life with. Remembering not just what they were but who they were and how they were. I'm going to have that with Random Access Memories. I'll never listen to a song from this album without thinking of him. And while right now, remembering Ryan hurts, time will go on and those memories will become celebrations.
It's crystal clear that I don't ever want it to end
If I had my way, I would never leave
Keep building these random memories
Turning our days into melodies
But since I can't stay...
I'll just keep playing back
These fragments of time
Everywhere I go, these moments will shine