Red Mage Briefs

Red Mage Briefs #49: and Red Mage Griefs

Hey, everyone.

It’s been a little out of sorts here for a week or so, at least from my perspective, and I wanted to be candid about that and break down why exactly I love our cozy community of mages. I waver between Red Mage Briefs as weekly bulletins or as journal entries which allow me to get transparent about the writing process in the hopes of helping anyone reading and just express my honest thoughts. I think this particular entry is going to lean more heavily toward the latter.

I’m finding it somewhat difficult to get proper writing out of me of late so this is therapeutic for me. Maybe some of you understand what that’s like.

 

My grandmother passed away early in the morning on Thursday, October 18th. She was 93 and one of the first people I ever loved. I spent much of my childhood growing up in her home in Kuliouou in Hawaii.

Of course, with the death of a loved one, an entire maelstrom of emotions comes, some perhaps uninvited but not unexpected. As a lot of you know, I decided to take some time off not just from work but from the internet, specifically online interactions across social media as the Well-Red Mage. I knew my personal tendency to cope with strong emotions is typically to immerse myself so fully in entertainment and interaction that I trust solely to time to “heal all wounds”. However, over time, I’ve found that time leaves scars.

This time, given that my family and I were prepared for grandma’s passing given the circumstances involved, I decided I wanted to make the attempt to face my emotions and express them to overcome them. In talking with a friend of mine who recently lost a loved one of his own, it seemed clear to us that our society doesn’t exactly do a good job in teaching us or providing positive examples to us for dealing with grief in a healthy manner. This is exceptionally true for men. Should faceless society ultimately be relied upon to teach us these things? I think it’s more incumbent upon the individual mentors in our lives: our parents, grandparents, teachers, pastors, counselors, etc.

It remains to be said that different people grieve in different ways, just as surely as individuals express anger or depression or happiness or excitement in individual ways. On the other hand, we’ve been taught concrete methodologies for dealing with anger; I teach my child how to count to ten when he’s angry or how to take a timeout to let rage slip away before yelling because I myself was taught those things.

But how do we deal with grief?

Right now, I’m keen on expression. Maybe that’s analogous to coping with anger, maybe not, but in taking time aside to deal with emotions not by bottling them up but by expressing them, I found I came through it easier, felt more hopeful and more thankful for the life my grandmother lived and everything she taught me. Now again, on top of all that, there are different kinds of loss: between say the death of one’s child, a sudden tragedy through an accident, and so on. I won’t belittle the grief of anyone else reading this by saying what I’ve experienced is synonymous with what they have. Yet the question remains whether there are tangible methods for coping with grief.

In taking time to think, I thought about the natural-ness of death in one’s old age yet also the sense of the injustice of it, the acceptance of it yet the innate yearning for more than mortality allows, the guarantee yet the phenomenon of death, if you like. Of course, though I hesitate to phrase it as a crutch (I can explain why I don’t think it’s a crutch if you’re curious), my assurance in continued existence in some form hereafter dramatically helped me overcome the despair of grief. There are several aspects of Christianity with which I grapple, but this is not one of them; there’s an immense comfort in believing that, as I grow older, there will be more and more people waiting for me in heaven, waiting to be seen again, that the soul continues on as our senses of ultimate justice, meaning, finality, and significance almost demand.

 

Talking through all of this helps me, so I hope you can forgive a bit of digression on my part. I was asked to put together the memorial video for my grandma, since I’m the guy with the blog and the YouTube channel, I guess (lol!), and I’m more than happy to, despite the new wave of emotions it invites. Sifting through pictures taken decades ago has been quite the experience, as has been choosing meaningful songs for the presentation.

I want to end this on a hopeful note: there are ways to cope with grief, we just have to explore them. Creativity, faith, expression… these are all things which have helped me. When I announced I’d be taking some time off, some out there mentioned they were going through or had been through similar situations. To you, I will say, if you want to talk about it, I like to make myself available whether in the comments or DMs/PMs or email.

 

A lot of other incredible things happened when I took my short break and in the time surrounding: the community of mages looked after each other and offered to help review each other’s works in my absence, the ABXY Mage (@ABXY_Reviews) announced that he’ll be launching a supplemental podcast called MAGE CAST: Side Quests, we launched the sixth episode of MAGE CAST entitled “Do Reploids Dream of Electric Guitar?”, we revamped our authorial Mages Page, we took on new mages in the incredible talents of the Middle-aged Horror Mage (cheapbossattack.com), the Keeper of the Darkness Flame Mage (noirnerdzone.com), and the Bookwarm Mage. Look forward to more content coming soon, as well as a proper summary of October at the end of the month!

Thank you for reading. Thank you to everyone for the outpouring of warm thoughts, encouragement, prayers, and condolences. It helps me get back into the swing of things.

Moses

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20 replies »

  1. I’m really sorry you lost your grandmother 😦 Losing a loved one is always an awful feeling, but you are right in the fact that I think it’s healthy and acceptable to feel those strong emotions and grow from them. In 2017, I lost 6 people and by that last funeral, I was almost numb. The first one to pass that year was my grandfather, who was more like a father to me. Last week was the 2 year anniversary of his passing and I was feeling pretty morose, but I also thought about how I was blessed to have such a wonderful man in my life for over 3 decades. Those good memories are what keep me looking forward ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah thank you, my friend. And I am very sorry to hear about your own losses. I’ve been ruminating on a book by CS Lewis called A Grief Observed which he wrote after his wife of only four years suddenly died. I haven’t finished the book but I’ve read summaries on it, and it seems like he came to the conclusion that the impermanence of life made him happy to appreciate the gift of others that he did have, for whatever time he had with them. We can’t have everyone forever, but we can cherish the time we have left. I think that’s pretty healthy. Thanks for writing me!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re very welcome! I’m not familiar with the book, but it sounds like a good read. I completely agree with the fact that we should appreciate the time we have with our loved ones. That’s why I love my family gatherings so much- I love having everyone together and I love having those memories to hold on to. That’s also why I drive everyone crazy and take a lot of photos of everyone!!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your understanding. My own faith has had quite the journey of ups and downs throughout my life as it’s developed but something someone said to me really stuck with me regarding grandma’s death: “It’s my loss but her gain.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. i’m so sorry that this has happened. i’ve been through this sort of thing myself, and it takes a lot of strength in order to power through it. here’s to you and your family, buddy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am sorry for your loss, Well-Red. It’s always difficult, I lost two grandparents in my early teen years and it was hard. You always treat your family and friends with the utmost care, I am sure every one of them is doing the same for you. Take the time that you need.

    With love, Spoony Bard Mage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Spoony! Thank you for the encouragement, my friend. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to lose two grandparents so early in life. That would definitely be hard. We thought my grandma might make it to 100 but I’m glad she doesn’t have to endure that. Wise words about treating your loved ones with utmost care! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad you seem to have found healthy means of processing and dealing with your grief — it’s so important, regardless of the circumstances that brought you to that grief.

    For me, writing was always a good outlet. When I suffered great loss (not through death, but through other circumstances) back in 2010, I found that my daily personal blog was… well, not to put too fine a point on it, probably what actually kept me alive. It was a means of expressing the things I found too difficult to say “out loud”, and to put those thoughts in a place where people who knew me could understand what I was going through without me having to tell them directly. It worked out well.

    Take all the time you need to get back up to speed, you’ve got a great support network here!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, my friend. I really like what you’re saying about the distinction between expressing yourself through writing and doing so out loud. It was easier to get my thoughts together here but I don’t think I could give a speech on it or anything right now. I’m happy to hear your blog has helped you personally so intimately.

      Thanks for the encouraging words!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m sorry for your loss. I recently lost my Aunt to lung cancer. So I can definitely relate to the sentiments here. I find when I lose anybody the best thing I can do is celebrate them. Share the knowledge they gave me with other people. Share the experiences I had with them with the world, and hope that some good comes of it. I pray you, and your family find peace, and I’m sure she’s in a better place.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much for these words. I’m sorry to hear you recently lost your Aunt. Celebrating the life of someone and everything they taught us and accomplished is definitely where it’s at. My grandma’s celebration of life is this Saturday so I suspect that will help bring some closure, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Your grief in the wake of your grandmother’s passing is, in its own way, a mark of respect. If she hadn’t meant overmuch to you, you wouldn’t be feeling what you feel now. If she hadn’t had such a positive and intimate effect on your life, you’d be moving on like this was nothing more than an emotional hiccup.

    Frankly, I’m encouraged by the fact that you feel this deeply, and that you’re allowing yourself the time and the space to let what must be… be. Who wants to go through this kind of sadness? No one. But here you are. You’re going through it. And I think you’ll be okay.

    You don’t have to feel anything other than what you’re feeling right now. It is what it is, and every breath you take honours the memory of your dear grandmother. Continue being kind to yourself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Very well-said. I think it would be disrespectful to not feel anything. The power of the emotions are in honor of the person who has passed.

      Thank you for the encouraging words, my friend. I really enjoy hearing from so many perspectives on coping with grief and going through times of grieving. I think it’s important to talk about.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I lost my father a year and 24 days ago now, and I became a Mage probably 5 months after that. In such a short time I’ve grown to count you as not just an voice in a Discord chat, but a friend, and I’ve had far deeper conversations with you than I’ve had with some of the best friends I’ve ever had.

    Through all of that the Mages, and you specifically, have been stalwart in helping me deal with my grief. You and I have have had long conversations about the nature of grief, and you’ve always been there for me to discuss things that other people shy away from.

    I remember specifically there was one instance in July, and I don’t recall if it was night or day, but I do recall I was in a very dark place internally. I was sitting on my bed–a physical and mental wreck, weeping quite frankly–and my phone lit up. A message was waiting from you asking me how I was doing, because I had withdrawn from all of my hobbies and the chat in general as depression set in. Somewhere out there, hundreds of miles away, a guy that I talk about video games with thought about me and wanted to let me know things were going to be ok. You may not have known it, but that impacted me deeply.

    Again in September, like you were psychic, I was having an extremely hard week as I neared the anniversary of my father’s death, and you were there for me.

    I say all that to say that in the same way you have been there for me I will strive to be here for you in whatever capacity I can be. Day or night, weekday or weekend, silly or no, I may not answer right away but I will always be here to talk.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m really touched by your comment, Daniel. I don’t know what told me to contact you those days if it was happenstance or providence but I’m happy I wasn’t bothering you and you didn’t feel alone in those times.

      Thanks for sharing your time and your life with us. You’re a voice that’s helped deepen our little community. I know you’ve been dealing with emotions I could hardly fathom but you’re loved and you’re a part of this whole thing. I hope you and I can continue to learn from each other and cope with our grief. Thank you!

      Liked by 2 people

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