24 June 2009

In Memory of...


My wife and I were surprised at what we received in the mail this week. A large envelope addressed to our deceased son Jonathan brought a curious look to our faces. I opened it to find a small stack of pages stapled together, with a photo on the cover from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, and words saying "In the memory of Captain Jack Sparrow of Imperial Fleet."

My son Jonathan was a huge Star Wars fan (as is his brother Alex), and he was a huge fan of online game play with others around the world. There are many, many Star Wars based computer games available, and I believe we have probably owned most all of them. For many years they have played all of the various versions of the games Jedi Knight and in recent years had become active in online teams and group play.

This stack of pages was a series of short comments and writings from people from all over the world, who had been a part of the Jedi Knight team and server play that my sons had been involved on. My son Jonathan's character screen name was Captain Jack Sparrow (another movie he liked). He had joined and played on the Imperial Fleet Clan for quite a while, and the people of that team, upon hearing of his death, put together this little memorial and mailed it to us, Jonathan's parents, as well as to his brother Alex.

As I read through page after page of comments, mostly from pre-teen and teens, I was seeing how my son's life had effected and been recognized by others. I wish to share some of these comments. There was a page with a map showing the location of most all clan members as well as an introductory paragraph stating:

This is a letter of remembrance to the family of Captain Jack Sparrow, a player on our Star Wars: Jedi Knights Jedi Academy server, Vengeance Lugormod, and an active participant of our community on and off the server. Now that we understand he was sick, we understand that his playing on our server and membership in our clan, Imperial Fleet, must have given him a lot of joy, which we are honored for providing. In no particular order, this letter compiles everything that our community has to say about his unfortunate and terrible passing. He is in our hearts, and we care about him, and will always care about him. We hope you are all feeling well.
Now here is a snippet from some of the comments from various members made about him:
Jack was an excellent member, and excellent friend, and an excellent contributor to this community....He was a great merc - a great sniper. He was respectful, honorable, nice, honest, and dependable. He was patient and consistent, he was alert and aware, he was humble and responsible. He was calm, he was optimistic, and always in a good mood. He was encouraging to lower ranked members, and a great warrior.

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He was a friendly guy and a great guy to have around on the server. He always helped me entertain and keep order, but do it in a good way. He never hurt anyone and he always tried to help everybody out, even people that didn't like him.

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Jack Sparrow, you were a great friend and an AWESOME clan member! We all love you! I can't believe I'm hearing this, Jack, you were one of the best members in our clan, and we all loved you. May the force be with you.

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Uhhh, this is horrible, I'm crying. I am also so sorry for this. Jackie'O was a good friend of mine. Always so happy, funny, never angry, never told about his sickness....I was a bit angry at him, I don't like people who quit stuff without telling about it, but I never thought the reason is anything like this.

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Tell Jack's family that he was a great friend, and never once did I think, oh darn, Jack is coming on. Whenever I saw JackSparrow is connecting it would make my day a little better, and the server won't be the same without him around...We'll miss you Jack, you were always cool, and calm and collected, we will miss you greatly. I am a little dizzy from all of this...Rest in Peace.

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I am also deeply saddended by this. Jack was a good friend to me, even before I applied to IF. He was a friend, a buddy, a pal. He was on the server a lot, always happy to help someone with an issue or something someone didn't understand...Jack was one of my best friends in JKA, and now he is gone, and it feels like something was taken from me and the whole Vengeance Community.

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I am truly sorry about your loss. Jack was by far the nicest guy I have ever met in this game. I never heard a mean or hateful thing from him ever; we can all learn a lesson from him.

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I'm gonna miss this guy. I remember that Jack was one of the many members of this community who kept us (IF and P) from turning against each other when our relationship was less than pleasant.
It was great to hear how his loving and caring personality was seen even across the electronic world of gaming. We really appreciate hearing these things, and were amazed that an online community of young kids would be so thoughtful as to put together and mail this memorial document and mail it to us.