Gaming and Grieving - Destructoid

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A relatively new dad telling tales on what life is like as a gamer and a father.

- I'm the youngest of two children with one older sister.

- I'm first generation American as my parents were born in Italy.

- Married to a wonderful wife and have an amazing daughter who makes me laugh and smile every day.

- Hobbies include exercise, reading, writing, sci-fi, film, and of course, video games.

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Xbox LIVE:Der Spieler Dad
PSN ID:Der-Sizilianer58
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9:11 PM on 05.31.2013

March 31, 2013 was Easter Sunday. It was a day I was looking forward to. It was my daughterís first Easter and our first as a young family together. We woke up early, as we always do now, as having a young child means sleeping in is a thing of the past. Sleeping to 7:30 is a treat now. Hell the other day my daughter slept in until 9:30, meaning we all slept to 9:30. I felt like a lazy turd and I loved every minute of it.

Just a normal night at Spieler Dadís House

On this Easter Sunday, we had our breakfast and packed our daughterís bag for the day. Having a 1 year old turns you into a fucking boy scout. The key is to be prepared for anything my daughter will need, whether sheís hungry, tired, bored, fussy, various bodily functions, possession from a 3rd century Sumerian deity, you know, the basic shit. Our plan was to go to church and from there, head directly to my in-laws, who live about an hour and half away.

Immediately after church, we received a phone call that I will never forget. There was a death in my wifeís family. It was completely unexpected and shocking. This led to the most difficult two weeks of my life.

Coping with grief, I believe is different for everyone and varies from culture to culture. My Irish friends enjoy having a few drinks and sharing stories of the dearly departed. Many other cultures, like my Polish friends, grieve by eating, a lot. Being Italian, I can confidently say that we do both. I suggest for those who do not know what Iím talking about, to go out and watch the movie Fatso, starring Dom Deluise. The first 15 minutes of that movie sums up my week.


In one week I have never cried, laughed, ate, and drank so much in my life. Now I know what it must be like to be on the rag. Also, I experienced a lot of down time. Preparing for a wake and funeral entails a lot of waiting around. During this time all you have are your thoughts and memories. Itís a difficult and often emotionally painful. Distraction is a welcome relief. During this difficult time, my videogames, in various forms aided in taking my mind off things, better than any other form of entertainment.

On Easter night, my wife and I headed home. We had nothing prepared and we needed to get organized for a long week. Bags needed to be packed, work needed to be notified, and life, generally, needed to be placed on hold. After a long night of tossing and turning, my mind filled with thoughts, I needed to take a break. I needed a way to occupy my mind, if just for a short time. I put my daughter in her Jumperoo and we went into the game room to play some Halo 4 Spartan Ops. For that moment, I was free of grief as I sat there with my daughter, who was 10 months old at the time, playing a game, together. She was fascinated by what was happening on the screen and this brought a smile to my face, for the first time in 24 hours.

Back at my mother-in-lawís, during down time, I had my iPad. I became entranced with Candy Crush. Iím not a huge casual game fan, but this game got me hooked. Unlike watching TV or reading, my mind would always wonder back, stirring up painful thoughts. The puzzle aspect of Candy Crush was a nice break and kept my mind occupied.


After the funeral, I headed home alone. My wife stayed with her family, taking an additional week of bereavement. I was home alone, with the dog. During the day, I immersed myself in work, which was easy after being out for a week and I had a shit ton of work to do (Thanks for filling up my inbox with stupid shit coworkers). At night, alone, it was just me, my crazy dog, and my Xbox 360.

What was odd during this time was that I really did not have a taste for realistically violent games. I put in Call of Duty Black Ops 2 to play some multiplayer and it left a bad taste in mouth. I just couldnít bare the thought of virtual killing another person. Not after the week I had. This was also the case with violent and scary movies, which Iím normally a fan of. †I could not bare the thought of human suffering.

Apparently, I had no qualms about blowing away aliens, so Halo 4 Spartan Ops it was. I neglected Spartan Ops when Halo 4 was first released and now I had ten episodes to get through and plenty of time to do it.


Iíd like to think that my gaming helped get through a difficult week. The days crawled by, but eventually my wife and daughter came home. I missed them so much. Itís been two months since that painful Easter Sunday. Things have gotten easier since then as life must go on. †I try to think of the good times the dearly departed and I had together. Iíll tell my daughter stories about him. We will never forget him.
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