Jan 11

When Life is Not a Game: What a Difference a Year Makes

While it has not been quite a year since I wrote the article (Here) detailing the tremendous challenges that my family and I were facing in early 2013, the time has come to take note of all that has changed.

This time last year, we were trying to recover from losing my uncle, Tom, who had sadly died from cancer at the very end of 2012.  It was an emotional blow to all of us, especially my mom, his sister, and his Aunt Colleen with whom he had lived.  Uncle Tom was a good guy, that cared deeply for my sister and I, and he will truly be missed.  His final act of kindness towards his family was as unexpected as it was amazing!   While we will never forget what he did for us, more importantly we will never forget who he was and what he meant to us!

So now a year has passed and the pain is healed, but it is still hard to believe he is gone.  It is particularly rough this time of year as he and Aunt Colleen would always visit at Christmas.  He would bring in his big trash bags full of presents, his cheesy grin, and his appetite for Christmas Eve Chili.  We all miss you Uncle Tom, and Christmas will never be the same…

It was January 29th, of last year, that my mother went into the hospital in dire condition.  Suffering from a horrible interaction of the assorted medications that she was on and barely clinging to life, was her state as Dad and I arrived at the hospital.  After numerous scares, perhaps the worst of which was daring to hope again as she began to recover, she made her way out of the woods physically!  Truly, the sense of relief we all felt as she returned home was overwhelming and filled with great optimism!

Sadly, while the physical damage healed rather quickly, the emotional damage hung on somewhat longer.  After the initial sense of elation at her return wore off, she entered a deep malaise the likes of which I have never seen.  While always prone to bouts of depression, she had never let it stop her from being full of life and enthusiasm.  I had always jokingly referred to her as “adventure girl to my friends and it was and apt nickname!  However, this dark state endured for quite some time and put a difficult strain on all of us, but none more so than my dad.  His emotional endurance and never-ending devotion to his wife, of 39 years as of this April, were an inspiration and a true testament to the power of love.  I am overjoyed to report that his herculean efforts were rewarded!  This autumn, for unknown reasons, the shadow began to fall from her spirits like the leaves from the trees.  Slowly, but surely she returned to us from the darkness and has regained much of her former zest.  The amount of time spent being inactive did drain her of a lot of her physical prowess, but I have no doubt she will regain her vitality, as she looks stronger every time that I see her.  Speaking of seeing her, we are celebrating her 67th birthday with dinner on Saturday night.  Dad is buying for the entire family, and as usual, I am sure it will be a raucous affair full of laughter and smiles.  While I, will not say what she is getting for her birthday, I know that having her here with us means that we have the best present of all!

While the other challenges at the start of last year were trivial by comparison, they did combine to make for a toxic stew that tainted everything else.  In short, the kids are no-longer sick.  Meaner than hell, and teenagers to boot, but physically they are healthy.  Katie is on her way to becoming a swimming champion and Jarrett has officially declared himself a beast after two months at the gym.  Speaking of meaner than hell, Mrs. Life in Games, Heather is doing great as well!  We celebrated our 5th anniversary in the islands back in September, and it is all good!

This brings me to this website and all that it entails.  With all of the chaos and misery last year, coupled with very limited success, I came extremely close to giving up on this blog.  I did not feel like writing, I did not see the point, and I was tired.  I wrote three posts in the first nine days of 2013 and my next three took six months.  It was not until July, as  Gen Con approached that I felt the desire to write rekindled.  The first post was actually by my wife, regarding her view of Gen Con.  Her enthusiasm was contagious and reminded me how much I loved this site and writing about life and games.  Shortly thereafter, the posts began to flow and it felt good to be back at the keyboard.  I have found that writing regularly makes me pay closer attention to all aspects of my life as I never know where the next post may find its inspiration.

I made a decision to be more positive and focus on the things that I could control, one of which was this website.  This renewed passion and positivity led to my being contacted by various game publishers to start reviewing their games, whether published or Kickstarter campaigns, and things have been rolling ever since!  I am grateful to all parties who have shown an interest in Life in Games, but I am most grateful to you, dear readers.  Some of you are family, some friends, and some I have never met, but we apparently share the same brand of madness that makes us love games!  I would probably write even if no one read, but it sure makes it much more fun.  So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who has helped this site grow.  Your support is awesome and I hope to provide content worthy of your time!

In closing, other than losing Uncle Tom, the troubles of 2013 are starting to fade into memory as they have all worked out for the best thus far.  I am writing up a storm, playing new and exciting games, the family is good, and most importantly Mom is doing so much better.  It looks as though 2014 holds great things for Life in Games, and life in general!  I am grateful to those of you who were here to support me during the bad times and I am excited you have stuck around now that the good times are back!


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    • Voice In the Wilderness on January 11, 2014 at 5:56 AM

    Loss of family is never easy. Having lost my mother while still in my twenties I can attest to that. But God has a beautiful way of allowing treasures of someone special in your life to linger on with your soul — this is a valuable asset that helps you for years to come. I’m glad you’re doing better and may God bless in your years to come.

    • Jim Bennie on January 11, 2014 at 6:56 AM

    Nice. I am glad you are back to full steam. I enjoy your reviews Keep up the good work.

    • on January 11, 2014 at 7:36 AM

    Thank you for reading and commenting, but most of all thank you for the kind words! The cathartic power of writing in conjunction with support from wonderful people such as yourself are a just two of the amazing benefits of blogging.

    • on January 11, 2014 at 7:37 AM

    Thanks old friend!

  1. Ah, Time … what can’t you do? I agree fully that’s it’s very hard to think ahead to better days when it’s your turn in the shite chute. Glad things have turned and the sun is shining on you and your family, Hamm!

    • Steve Jones on January 11, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    Wow! I had no idea that what you were going through early last year was so intense. Your poker face was strong! Glad you made it out of the woods; keep up the great work!

  2. Glad to see you back doing your thing! We need to get together to strategize… maybe before or after a gaming session 🙂

    • on January 11, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    Thanks for the sentiment. What you say is very true. I am most frustrated by the sense of powerlessness that one experiences in such times. If it is my fault, I can learn and change, but when there is literally nothing you can do is when it drives me nuts. Fortunately, the corner is turned and I am in absolute control once again! Muhaha!

    • on January 11, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    Thanks Steve. I fear the same thing that lets me hide the emotions and maintain the poker face will also be the thing that kills me of an early heart attack! I shove it inside my mind’s closet and try to carry on with logic and reason. God forbid anyone ever opens that closet, the avalanche of messed up emotions will like cause a national, if not global catastrophe!

    Btw…I am eagerly looking forward to the start of the new IGS seasons!

    • on January 11, 2014 at 1:49 PM

    Ty sir. I was planning on calling you this past week, but with snowpoccalypsemageddon I decided to wait. We must definitely meet soon to strategize, and get things moving. I am ready to hit things full speed! Oh, and do some gaming too!

  3. Sorry to hear of so much heartache the past year. Glad to see, though, that you’re back at the keyboard and game table! Nothing heals better and keeps us healthier than doing things that bring us happiness. Much luck!

    • on January 16, 2014 at 7:42 AM

    Thank you for the kind words Todd. They are truly appreciated! What you said is true, and I am glad to be back at both. I hope see you at one of the family game days so we can finally meet in person. Happy gaming!

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