I had gotten into a video game called Call of Duty in the fall of 08. Being an older player, I went to the internet to get tips on how to play video games. After all, I was 43 years old. :) I went to the game maker’s forum to get some info and to post questions on how to play a first person shooter. After a few visits to the website, I noticed that there were some older players on the forums, just like me. We talked and decided that we should make a clan (which is a group of players who play the game together), called OFC (Over Forty Clan). I created a website for the clan and OFC was born. Over the coming months, the clan grew. It was amazing. The response was incredible and we were all having fun and acting like little kids again. I played almost every night after Chrissy and the kids were in bed. A member from Europe set up a server so we could talk to each other via the internet and headsets while we played. And then the fun really began. We laughed, talked about world events, and got to know each other while we played the game. As dorky as it sounds, it was alot of fun... And a time I will cherish until the day I die.
And then we got the news that Chrissy’s cancer had returned. My motivation for playing the game changed from that moment on. I played to distract myself from the pain..from the constant and unrelenting thoughts of what my life had become, and will become in the very near future... what life would be like without her. I played the game to escape, plain and simple. And that escape turned into something wonderful. I didn’t tell anyone but a couple of the original members what was going on with me. Because very few people knew about Chrissy at the time, the majority of OFC does not know how much they helped me during those dark days. They kept me sane during a very insane time. I am so thankful that I got a chance to know these wonderful people. The camaraderie, the jokes, the laughter… it literally saved me from the abyss. It kept me from falling into a hole whose depth I cannot even imagine.
Chrissy would make fun of me for playing the game, wearing the headset and talking to other OFC members while we played. She called me a big dork. :) But if she knew what these folks did/have done for me, she would know that it was really something very special. When Chrissy's health started to decline, I had to stop playing completely. I would log on every so often and play for 20 or 30 minutes. But I never played with the guys and gals of OFC again.
One day after Chrissy died, I got a letter in the mail. It was from the members of OFC...and there was a substantial check enclosed with said letter. They took up a collection and raised money for my kids. I cried for a half hour because these wonderful people, who I had never met, gave me faith...not in God, but in us...humans..people..but more importantly, faith in life. The world and people are not as bad as some people make it out to be. There are these random acts of kindness that fill our world and make an impact beyond words. And appreciating that…that the world is good…and life is good...is what it’s all about. We complain about those who don’t get it… I’d rather talk about those who do.
Which brings me to why I am posting this now. A couple of days ago, some of the guys from OFC kept telling me to go back and take a look at the website I created some two years ago now. They said "I wouldn't be disappointed". Well, I finally did last night. What I found sent me back to the same place I was when I opened that letter. The members of OFC changed all of their user names for the website and their in game names to pink in honor of Chrissy and Breast Cancer Awareness month. Needless to say, I cried again. However small the endeavor...it's these little things that can make a huge impact. And it did.
There are over 200 members of OFC now. We have members across Europe and North and South America. When I started OFC, there were about 5 of us. I'm convinced that the reason it has grown is not because of me, but because it is something special. It is family. We are family. OFC is my family. I hope that I can live up to the standard they have set. I hope that I can be there for them in the same way they were there for me. Because they have shown me what life is about... And that all we can do is be there for each other when we need it... And that my friends, is what it is all about.
Thank you OFC.