For Jimmy

(A week ago, our kin leader, Jimmly, lost his battle with cancer. Friends of Frodo held a ceremony for him shortly after, and I found the experience so touching, and so real, I wanted to write about it. Very quickly, what I was writing became a eulogy of sorts – a (very small) tribute to Jimmly. So instead of trying to fit what I’d written into a blog post about gaming, I’m putting this up as what it is – a remembrance of a dear friend.)

Friends of Frodo has lost our founder – a co-leader, a companion, and a dear friend. I didn’t know Jimmly as well as many in the kinship; I joined after he took a leave of absence from gaming so he could focus on his health. But shortly after his return to the game, I quickly learned many things about him. He was passionate about the things he loved. He had a voice you could never forget, a quick wit and was even quicker to laugh. He was generous, with his time and attention, almost to a fault. He was an eternal optimist, who found joy in all those around him and in every aspect of the worlds, real and digital, in which he lived. He was a friend to all.

As one of us wrote, “Jimmly was the best friend I never met.”

We’ve lost someone important to us, and for that we mourn. We mourn for his wife, his kids, and his family. We mourn for ourselves; for laughter lost, for quips we’ll never trade, for experiences we’ll never share. We mourn for a world a little less bright, having lost someone who desired, and deserved, so much to live.

But from our sorrow we should find inspiration. Our ceremony for Jimmly was one of the largest online gatherings of which I have taken part, and was a real funeral. Yes, there were true tears and true sadness, but also true support, true caring, and true friends. Our kinship was Jimmly’s creation, and is a testament to him; to the values he held, and inspired in others, and to the power of his personality. People from all over the world, from disparate walks of life, were drawn to him, and to the community he built. In our kinship I have formed real bonds, and have real friends; I would wager every member would say the same. And while each one of us plays a role in making Friends of Frodo what it is – a gathering of friends, a second family, and a true kinship – it all began with Jimmly. We are his legacy, undoubtedly one of many.

Thank you, Jimmly. We are forever grateful.

Tolkien was a firm believer in the power of music and song in every aspect of life; in his tradition of incorporating song, even in print, I’m including the following (but as I’m not a poet, I’ll have to rely on Jackson Browne).

For a Dancer by Jackson Browne

Keep a fire burning in your eye
Pay attention to the open sky
You  never know what will be coming down
I don’t remember losing track of you
You were always dancing in and out of view
I must have thought you’d always be around
Always keeping things real by playing the clown
Now you’re nowhere to be found

I don’t know what happens when people die
Can’t seem to grasp it as hard as I try
It’s like a song I can hear playing right in my ear
That I can’t sing
I can’t help listening
And I can’t help feeling stupid standing ’round
Crying as they ease you down
’cause I know that you’d rather we were dancing
Dancing our sorrow away
(Right on dancing)
There’s nothing you can do about it anyway

Just do the steps that you’ve been shown
By everyone you’ve ever known
Until the dance becomes your very own
No matter how close to yours
Another’s steps have grown
In the end there is one dance you’ll do alone

Keep a fire for the human race
Let your prayers go drifting into space
You never know what will be coming down
Perhaps a better world is drawing near
And just as easily it could all disappear
Along with whatever meaning you might have found
Don’t let the uncertainty turn you around
Go on and make a joyful sound

Into a dancer you have grown
From a seed somebody else has thrown
Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own
And somewhere between the time you arrive
And the time you go
May lie a reason you were alive
But you’ll never know

For Jimmly!

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