July 4, 2022

Death Always Hurts—Even when it’s Someone we’ve Never Met.

Today I watched my child’s heart break, and it crushed me.

They are an avid gamer and streamer and have been inspired by those who came before them, namely their favorite streamer, Technoblade, who died last week.

He was only 23 years old.

My kiddo didn’t know him personally, but it doesn’t matter. Whether they were human or animal, whether we were close to them or we only knew them from afar, the loss of someone we care about breaks our hearts all the same.

Technoblade’s art of gaming and the world that he shared touched and inspired my child in ways I’ve only really started to understand today. They started their own stream because they loved him and what he did so much, and they were absolutely devastated when they heard the news of his passing.

I don’t know much about Technoblade other than the bits and pieces I’ve picked up from my kiddo over the past few years.

I don’t play Minecraft. I tried to get into it for both of my kids several years ago, but it just wasn’t my thing. In fact, I’m not a gamer at all. Nor am I a streamer or a viewer. I’ve never understood the draw of streaming and watching others play video games. I feel much the same way about watching sports on TV (or in person, for that matter). I don’t see the enjoyment in sitting and watching someone else play a game when you could be playing the game yourself. But I guess it’s really not much different than going to a concert and watching someone else play musical instruments.

And it’s not just my kid who is into it; there are millions of kids and adults around the world who watched every stream Technoblade posted. I guess everyone has that one thing they are into that isn’t necessarily understood by the people around them. That’s why it feels so good to find a community of people who are into that thing. That’s what Technoblade did—he built a community for everyone who shares this love of Minecraft and gaming.

This morning, I got a small peak into this community and the world that my child shares with so many others. I cried through a video of Technoblade’s dad sharing his son’s final message on YouTube, my heart broken as it always is for parents who have lost their children. I slowly scrolled through the comments and was blown away by what I saw: millions of views from his community and unending words of love and thoughts shared in his honor. He didn’t just inspire my child, he inspired millions of people all over the world. It was a beautiful thing to see.

I was able to see more clearly the draw of the game, the streaming, and the community. And I understood a lot more how my child probably feels right now. I imagine it’s similar to the way I felt after Kurt Cobain died when I was in high school. Or when Robin Williams died almost eight years ago or when Betty White died last year. I didn’t know any of these people, but they touched my life. They made me feel seen, made me feel less alone, made me smile and laugh. And I grieved their loss when they left this world.

Today, I’m grateful to that 23-year-old streamer who I never met but who brought joy and laughter to my child. Who made them feel less alone during the long stay at home. Who encouraged them to build their own community and to share a treasured part of their life with complete strangers.

I’m encouraging my kiddo to talk about Technoblade. To share their memories. To be on the internet. To game with friends. To stream their normal weekly Friday night Twitch stream in memorial honor of the one who inspired them. To be amongst their friends and community who loved Technoblade too, and to feel all the feels of that loss together.

Because this is how we walk each other through loss—even when it’s someone we’ve never met.

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