In the middle of July, my mother and sister walked in to me with my head down in front of my computer. I was doing my best not to cry, to not punch my desk, but my sibling immediately thought I was simply ignoring her when I asked her to repeat whatever she said and then my mother came to figure out if I had done anything to upset her. It was then they noticed, that my face was covered in tears, and I was looking at the news post on Giantbomb concerning Ryan's death - a man who taught me a lot with a little, and years later he and his friends helped to keep me high when things were low.
I've not publicly disclosed the following but expressed it to many close friends. I am deciding to do so now that my life is in one of those roller coaster valleys that you know leads up to a barrel roll or sudden turn. It's time to let go, yet never forget those in our lives that helped us in the past, and continue to do so in our spirit and mind. There are people we only get to meet a few times in our lives, or only get to speak to over the phone or online. Yet they are a force we cannot deny.
On the fourth of July, 2013, I was in Sunnyvale with a small assortment of friends celebrating the day with a BBQ, fireworks, and other shenanigans. Many of these people I grew up with and others from around California (most, anyway). We were comprised of musicians, filmmakers, game developers, software engineers, retail employees, students, and so on. I had brought a few friends with me, but ended up settling down in the living room at one point to share a short-form history video about what I've been up to over the past few years with my oldest inner-circle. This included a short primer of 2000-2010, wherein I worked on sketch comedy, game journalism, a music-based reality show, and more.
It was here, after hanging out with a database engineer and some other relatively new faces, that I heard something that sounded like a bad joke. Something that took me a moment to process, because I was told that one of their friends had passed away suddenly - as if they had just heard that day. When the name uttered sounded "Ryan Davis" I immediately thought of Ryan from Giantbomb. A man I barely knew, yet had met on several occasions when we crossed paths at events, at random places in the San Francisco Bay Area, and over the Internet after I used to work / contribute to sites of old (pre-IGN, iONvideogames, Cloudchaser, SegaNation, etc.) and finally, when I was a tester at SCEA.
After asking for validation of where this Ryan was from, and how he found out, my stomach was in upheaval. I didn't want to believe it for a moment, as in all these years I had yet to have a chance to reconnect with Ryan and his friends because my plate was overflowing with school, student employment, and real work on projects within my company. This was all taking up too much of my time and I barely got to play video games, rarely ever went to the theater, and my love life was non existent. Yet I made time to read/watch GB once in a while, above most other sources of media (besides Adam Sessler, who I met outside of GDC back when I was meeting up with the DrunkGamers - now known as Rooster Teeth).
Several days passed with no news of this, and me believing it to be nothing but a mistake of who had passed. It wasn't until I saw some stories pop up on Twitter that the fear of losing someone I looked up to, that had given me a little advice to survive in the world, was being mentioned as having passed away. It was so frightening, that I as in denial at first, and stayed away from GB, from Twitter, and from my smartphone in general. Later that day, however, I was looking at some websites for free assets to use in an Intermediate Motion Graphics class and a Kotaku ad popped up. Once I landed there, the first thing that drew my attention was that Ryan Davis had passed away.
I left that class early that day, checked GB, called some friends to confirm. Didn't want to believe it. Still pains me to this day. I too, was large (and in charge) for many years as a one-man multimedia army, a so-called teddy bear, a man the ladies could trust, and someone who loved people and always gave them the benefit of the doubt. After my mother and sister realized I was grieving, they consoled me and asked about him, after which I showed them some old photos, some newer videos, and then returned to the page here on GB about his passing. It was hard, and I still hope to finish the piece I've been working on for the GB crew.
My life may have recently turned into an incredible (and interesting) mess of nearly being killed, my car being totaled, losing my enrollment, student worker employment, and now having to learn about the legal system to go (back) to court for the first time in my life, but before my life goes back to being a space train that stops for no one I don't know or care about, I wanted to tell my story, on here. The staff has my condolences, they have my contact information, and I wish you all the best for the future. Especially Jeff - I was going to contact him immediately after it was official, but decided not to.
Rock on, GiantBomb.
A copy of this can be found on my GiantBomb blog (the one and only post)
Pro-tip: The title for my blog post and this topic is based on the fact that when I was in Southern California for business (and pleasure) last summer I ran into someone I had thought died years earlier from pancreatic cancer, yet there they were with hair back on their head and cancer free. It strangely offset and otherwise incredible trip to meet with some game developers, filmmakers, and do some social+network dinners in Hollywood, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, etc.
The medication they had used (a hemp oil also known as "hope oil") later saved my grandfather's life and my own.