This is an article I wrote a few years back when I lost a friend to mental health. I hope it helps someone, somewhere, somehow.
What makes a friend?
The saying goes “you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family”. I’m not sure how true that is though, because sometimes you are forced together through circumstance and from that, a friendship grows. You may not choose the person as your friend and under normal circumstances, you probably would give a polite nod and continue on your way.
That’s kind of how I met C3.
I want to begin by telling you something pretty sad that happened in the last week. My friend C3 passed away.
He did have a real name but I only ever called him by his Gamertag as did anyone who played one of the many multiplayer online titles with him.
He was always up for a chat.
We would spend hours (literally hundreds of hours) discussing the problems of the world and the things we loved and hated all while heavily engaged in combat through the marvellous world of the video game chat on the Xbox version of Destiny created by Bungie.
C3 was my friend, but we never met in real life.
He shut his Facebook page down and there were no pictures of him, only an Xbox live avatar that he had used forever. A blurry 3D glasses-wearing black and white cat thing. But when that image popped up online I knew what it meant. C3 was joining the fight.
I would hear about his wins and struggles in life and he would hear about mine. He asked about every step of the journey that my wife and I were on with the recent birth of our daughter and was eager to hear that she was born and what her name was.
His last text to me was “Best of Luck”. I remember thinking “thanks man” but I never responded to that message.
About a month ago we were talking about the baby and getting excited and he was saying how lucky I was to have an offspring that would be able to look after me later in life when I’m not capable of doing things for myself. He had been doing some research into robots to do the same for him. Apparently, somewhere in the world, we are really close to having the technology of home assistant robots. That’s the sort of strange conversation I enjoyed with my online pal.
Our other conversations included things like:
Cryptocurrency which he seemed well versed in and I knew nothing so I learnt a lot about it,
Netflix shows, he recommended “Altered Carbon” to me and the movie “Annihilation” which were both amazing.
Property Development. His family knew this very well and he seemed excited every time he got to do work with his father.
So many more..
I don’t remember what the first game we played together was, I know it was with our close friend Nedyah who introduced us. I’ve known Nedyah for a long while and we know each other in real life in fact we shared a house at one point and worked together. I think the game was probably Halo because that’s what we played a lot. It could have just as much been Gears of War or Call of Duty, but I’m leaning more towards Halo.
So on and off over the years we played various games and knew each other but not in a way that you would send a message to get them online to play more of a situation that if we were both online we might join the same game.
Then the highly anticipated Bungie release “Destiny” came out, and we were the only two of our friend group that actually loved it and stuck with it.
The game was designed to play with other people in order to succeed. Sure you could play a single-player with random jumping in and out of your strikes but there was something to be said for having your own fire team of 3 and taking on the enemy as if you are some sort of elite force. We were not the best players of the game by any sense, but we did have the most fun and enjoyed the hell out of the game and all its expansions.
It was at this stage it went from “happen to be online” to messages in Xbox chat or via phone with a simple one word that made you drop tools and get to your console to begin the fight. that word was a question, “destiny?”.
I don’t know how many messages there are in my feeds that are just that word, must be hundreds.
Destiny 2 came along and we transferred our characters across, (his titan and my warlock). We really only had a fireteam of 2, our third player was always whoever else we knew happened to be online at the time or just a random in strikes who we would always refer to as “old mate” regardless of their name. “have we got an old mate?” was a regular communication when a strike would begin.
We joined a Clan, made more friendships and started to have regular people in our fireteams which was great. But like an 80’s TV Show it was always the core two with a special guest as a third.
Mental Health: My Friend that I Never Met
It’s funny how you can be friends with someone but never meet them. You can know all about someone but never sit in the same room. There was never video chat, there was probably one phone conversation and a handful of text messages that were mostly “destiny?”. That’s what made his passing seem so strange, I wasn’t sure what I was meant to feel. I’ve since decided you aren’t “meant” to feel anything, you just do, and I felt shock, loss, anger and sadness.
We would joke that we were the last 2 people in Australia still playing Destiny.
He would get so annoyed at me when we were in the tower. I’d wait for him to be in the menu system breaking down weapons and armour, then I’d go and use my character to push his character in the direction of the nearest drop-off. It took ages to get him there and in the end, all he would hear was the sound of his character falling to his death from his menu and then he would rematerialise in another part of the map. It had no impact on the game but we would laugh for ages afterwards, so dumb.
A few weeks back we were talking about how much we were looking forward to Red Dead Redemption 2 coming out. He had a gift voucher from his folks he’d been hanging on to just to get it. He was genuinely excited about it. It might seem trivial to some, but it’s sad he will never get to play it and I’m sad I’ll never get to debate the good and the bad of it with him.
The guy had his demons and they eventually caught up with him. But he was a good bloke. He was a kind bloke.
He was a member of my fire team and he was my friend. Sadly now when I look at my friends list it will always read “C3 – Offline”
I can’t stress enough, that if you ever feel like you are in a bad place and the black dog is knocking on your door, reach out. Talk to someone. Do something. There are even so many fantastic services that offer help right across the world.
Even if you play a game with your friends whether you have met them in real life or not.
I know it can be hard, but the alternative is not even worth considering.
ave atque vale C3
Please read this Update for 2022 and support if you can:
It’s been a few years since I wrote this and I still try to make a difference by raising awareness, funds and support. This June I’m taking part in the Push Up Challenge.