Memorial Service

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Today was the memorial service for Greg. It was both beautiful and packed with relatives and friends, both of the online and more conventional variety. I don't think I can rehash it right now, or even process it, but I have PDF'd the programme and you can grab it HERE.

Also, Eleanor Blake, Gregory's mom honored me by asking me to say a few words. I'm posting that below.

Eleanor and Dale, Rebecca and Emily, thank you so much for making me such a part of this tribute to Greg. I think you all know how much he meant to me and I was so proud to be able to share my rememberances with those that knew him and miss him.


Most of you have no idea what a MUD is, but if you are to understand how greg lived online, it's an important point. Imagine you are IM'ing (instant message) someone. Now, imagine that you can IM several people at once--you have a chat room. A place where people can congragate. But add characters and rooms and descriptions of those rooms and you have an online town or village. And in that arena, people spend time together. Talking, joking, just being together. This is how I spent time with greg for almost 10 years.

Some people would say that there's a big difference between knowing people online like this--never being there in the same room, or on the phone. But talk to someone, in any way, an hour or two a day, for 5 or 6 years, and any difference there might have been no longer exists. You know the person on a deep and connected level. I spoke to Greg every day, at least for a short while, many times for hours. But not continuously, usually. Talking on MUDs are generally a disconnected series of sentences, fragments of conversations.

I once commented "this is so odd. I say something. You answer me 3 hours later." His response, which made me crack up at the time was a simple shrug, saying "It's the mudder way."

That was perfect for him. No one in your face. No one demanding anything. The mudder way.

I'd come back home from work to a couple of different, but typical greg actions:

Gregory run in circles (if he was feeling pent up)
Gregory stomps around (usually if Dale decided to switch the TiVo to something else...)
or just
Gregory bored (which happened a lot since counting himself among the unemployed)

So he turned his attention to his computer and his friends. He must have been on 20 MUDs, and he'd often be on all of them at once, switching between them and keeping 20 conversations going (although often none of them well...greg had an attention span that would make my 5 year old jealous)

One of the good things about being on the MUD was that he could be pretty open with feelings--things that are hard to say in real life. I remember clearly this one story, which I mentioned to Eleanor, about 6 years ago. He told me that he had gotten a call late that night that he was the alternate for a new lung and completely freaked out. He jumped online looking for me but I wasn't around and at the time he didn't have my number. So he ran in circles for awhile before calling the hospital and telling them no, and to take them off the wait list. I remember giving him the what for and nearly screaming at him (as much as you can in a text-only format) that he was an idiot and he needs to get back on that list, blah blah blah. He was so nervous and just nodded at me. Eventually, though, he got on the list again and waited and waited. When it was time for the fateful call, he IM'd me from the car to tell me that he was going in for the surgery and how proud of himself he was that he didn't turn this one down.

As time went by, we started talking more on things like skype--online voice chat. Usually, we'd talk while watching a show, and usually anime, because of how passionate he was about that. Of course, being greg, we'd start 10 series and not finish any of them. He was so patient with the fact that I didn't really like anime, and just kept giving me new things to try until I DID find some that I liked. Now I have to go out and find Cowboy Bebop and Full Metal Alchemist to see how they end.

For sure, though, the thing we all enjoyed watching most together was the new Dr. Who series. he'd upload it to me and our friend linda and the 3 of us would watch it together for the first time. He'd always wait to watch with us and frequently stomp around in frustration because I had to work, or we couldn't find a time, or whatever. if several days went by, he'd still wait, but he sure didn't want to!

He was such a sweet guy, and so shy. I don't think the shyness came across until we started talking, and even more so when we met in person. I remember being on skype with both greg and linda and her 12 year old daughter, lulu, was there and I put my 5 year old, katie, on to talk with lulu...and greg. So katie, being the least shy person in the world, yakked to lulu for 5 minutes or so, before returning the headset to me. There was a bit of silence, broken eventually by greg saying "ok, that was the cutest. thing. ever."

I see his name everywhere still. My friends lists on Gizmo, skype, AOL IM, still sleeping in the MUDs, old emails--even my calendar program popups when it came up with an appointment and gave me the choice of "Dismiss" or "Snooze." They're all still there, but he isn't.

However, one of our mutual close friends online, Jenni and I decided that he would like the idea of us having him as our imaginary friend. He's still asleep in many of the MUDs he talked on, and everyone I spoke to intends to keep his character alive--in spirit--there for as long as the MUD is around. So, I'll always have Greg to talk to, in his way. The mudder way. And eventually, I know, he'll get around to answering. I'm willing to wait.

Here's one of the 5 pictures that his mom took of us. Five pictures in a row. All the same pose. ALL with Greg's eyes closed. *sighs*

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This page contains a single entry by published on June 10, 2006 11:24 PM.

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