So last Saturday I attended the funerals of two friends.
Doug Curry, a board gaming friend, died of a heart attack on Valentine's Day. I met Doug through the Houston Boardgaming Group, which met monthly at a couple of different stores, based on space availability. I stopped attending when the meeting place moved over to a place in far west Houston (about an hour from my home), but I saw him every year at the Lone Star Game Fest. He may not have been one of my closest friends, but he was a solid friend and I one of the people I always looked forward to seeing at the con. Next year will be... I don't really have the word for it. I'll keep expecting to see him and be disappointed when I don't.
The memorial service was at a cousin's place and was full of family and friends. After folks had had a bite to eat (BBQ, because it IS Texas after all), Doug's cousin-in-law (brother in all but blood, really) spoke and then invited others to speak as well. It was harder on me than I expected, even with the laughs from "Funny Doug stories". I'll miss him every year at the con.
Steve Reed I've board gamed with, played RPGs with (table top and LARP), and war-gamed with off an on for the last 20 years. Steve died of complications due to mucopolysaccharidosis, a genetic disease. I don't know which version, but most people with it die before making it to 17 - Steve made it to 45. He was in recovery from a hospital trip, but even so, his death was sudden and unexpected (long story short: he suddenly suffered heart, lung, liver, and renal failure and his body went toxic - his living will directed he not be kept on life support and his family gave consent Sunday, February 17 at 10:30pm). Steve's memorial was at St. Bernadette's in Clear Lake and really hit me hard. He was one of the people who were part of the inspiration for my novel. I kept thinking I wanted to send him a copy of the draft while he was in the hospital, but wanted to wait for a "better draft" before sending it. Now that window is closed.
Steve was a close friend and damned good to talk to on any topic. He had a sharp mind without being acidic and was always upbeat.
Damn this hurts.
Good-bye Doug and Steve. See you both on the other side, whatever's there.