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The Goodbyes You Don't Get To Say

My friend Brian died today.

He'd been sick for a little while. It'd been tough to see him struggling. Brian was kind, and generous, and fiercely self-reliant (to his detriment, it turns out). He was sharp and wise and while he didn't talk very often, frequently his contributions were the spot-on perfect note for humour or insightful commentary. He was a good host and a good gamemaster, and he convinced me to try more than one thing I never would have tried before, from specific boardgames to specific game engines to specific foods, even to specific music. He was one of the people that convinced me to move to Portland, and who welcomed me when I arrived, and who opened his home and his social circles to me when I was settling in, and who consistently made sure I had a place at his table and his games. He sold me his house, my first house, when I decided I was ready to put down roots here.

We were going to pick back up on our tabletop game next week; we tried to work out something for Saturday but it wasn't coming together, so we decided to push it back a week.

The last time I saw him he was tired and in pain, but he seemed determined to take care of himself. I don't know for sure, but I'd guess it wasn't so much a fear of being weak as a nearly-pathological commitment to not imposing on others.

I worry about my friends who knew him and loved him, including his ex-husband, with whom he was still close. I hope he didn't suffer more than he had to.

I will miss his presence in my life fiercely.

I don't believe in the afterlife, or in souls, or anything like that. I only know that there is now a Brian-shaped hole in my life, and I am hugely angry at the universe for that.

There's a lot of "I" in this, probably because I'm a selfish jerk, but Brian was important to me in all these little ways that I didn't realize. He hosted our game nights. He led our Rock Band bands. He always had a new boardgame to play. He was a part of so many sections of my life.

Goodbye Brain. I am sorry I didn't get to say that to you. And I am sad I had to say that now.

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