Casey And The Worst of Times

I long ago gave up any idea of leaving retirement to do something different. I’ve given myself the operational title of “full time wargamer.” It is a non-occupation I fully enjoy. It has given so much to me, and I, in turn, hope that I’ve given a little bit back.

I have three WordPress blogs, but this is the one that gets the most use, so I am writing this story here. It’s game-related only by circumstance and is deeply personal, so hopefully you will follow along with me.

In a typical year I would have posted about Enfilade, and what a great time I had (and I did) but the posting was delayed. I was in post-convention recovery mode, and tried to call my son Casey on Tuesday the 30th. I always share Enfilade stories with him and had lots of good ones to tell, but he didn’t pick up. We had a Saturday family gathering planned and when his mom couldn’t reach him Wednesday and I couldn’t contact him on Thursday we became concerned, but not overly so. By Saturday morning we decided that after making a stop in Tukwila, I would drive the three or four miles to his house and knock on his door to see if he was okay.

He wasn’t. After raising the police to get the key from his landlord, we learned that Casey, our beloved Casey was gone. He died in his sleep on his couch of cardiomyopathy, heart failure, at the age of 39.

There are lots of details of his death I can share with you, but I’m not going to. I am going to tell you that I am a grieving father, an experience I share with my wife and son Patrick and all our family. They loved him dearly for all the right reasons. Casey was incredibly bright and a hard worker. He worked for Expedia for over 16 years and he was near graduation at WGU in data analytics. He was fun and funny, with a ridiculously naughty sense of humor. He was also plagued by anxieties, and an unwarranted lack of self-confidence. He was dedicated to doing the right thing, was a tireless advocate for social justice, but more than anything believed in and practiced the simple every day kindnesses that we should all hope we experience every day. He was a wonderful son who was kind and helpful to his parents, loved his brother and his entire family. By all accounts, he was a dedicated, helpful and successful colleague.

Patrick, Rachel, Lorri, Kevin, Antoinette, Casey

Casey was my companion in all things Marvel. We’d catch and debrief the latest movie. We’d pick apart the MCU shows on Disney+. He knew all the backstories, while I only knew what was on the screen. Casey wasn’t a miniature gamer, though he did attend Enfilade a couple of times. Crowds triggered his anxieties, so he might stick his head in the door for a game period to support the convention, he played a single game at most and then was gone. However, in a smaller setting with friends, he was a terrific board gamer. We played all manner of Eurogames and he always figured them out faster than I did. He endeared himself to my older crowd of friends, and they never thought of him just as “Kevin’s kid,” his skill, the person he was, stood him on his own. He was Casey.

I don’t want this to go on and on as Casey’s resume. He was my son who is deeply and sorrowfully missed. I love both my sons and I hope they both know that. We have a great relationship. We never wait for special occasions to spend time together. Pat is my companion in all things musical and we’ve spent countless hours at concerts, baseball games and just hanging out to shoot the shit. Casey is my gamer dude, my movie guy though he did hate baseball and thought the Beatles were overrated (for shame, sir!) Hated onions too . . . ?

Lots of friends and relatives are unbelievably shocked and they’ve done what they can to reach out and support Lorri, Pat and me. They often say they don’t have the words; they can’t imagine how it feels. I guess my immediate response is, you don’t want to imagine how it feels.

Yesterday, instead of discussing the Doctor Strange movie with my son, I was buying a niche for him at the cemetery.

This week, instead of debriefing our latest adventure with our role-playing group, I was cleaning out his apartment, inquiring about his life insurance benefit, and picking up his death certificate at the funeral home.

On Thursday I was holding my dear wife, the two of us in tears, because our beloved cousin Cheryl Casey sent a gorgeous Irish wool afghan with the label of the Casey clan to remember our youngest.

Many times there is a feeling of normalcy and everything is proceeding as usual when suddenly I’m swallowed in a black well of grief. Staring out the window is all I can manage.

I know it will get better. I’m still pretty raw. Someday he’ll just be with me. But no don’t imagine what it feels like today, because it’s just too painful.

5 comments on “Casey And The Worst of Times

  1. Markus Sharaput says:

    So sorry to hear this. I can’t imagine how you must feel.

  2. Pete S/ SP says:

    So deeply sorry to hear of your loss. My condolences to you and your family.

    Regards,

    Pete.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Your fatherhood of Casey, from these words, is beautiful. Take care.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Your words are genuine and heartfelt. Casey knew how much you loved him. Thank you for sharing with us a glimpse into your relationship, family bonds live in the heart and mind forever.
    Bronwyn

  5. I am so terribly sorry you lost your son and friend. I am glad you have family to grieve with.

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