You know those memes about how 2020 just keeps getting worse by the month? I didn't like them before because it's been such a very awful and depressing year that I'm not in the mood to joke about it. And now I really don't like them, because for me, June has indeed managed to be even worse: My friend Nicole died suddenly of a stroke on Friday. She had just turned 40 a few days earlier.

Nicole was in one of my local gaming groups. She wasn't much into serious strategic games, although she would be a good sport about it if one came out. She enjoyed party games, the sillier the better: Cards Against Humanity, Red Flags, Monikers, Time's Up, 5-Second Rule, Schmovie, Codenames, that sort of thing. She had such a big laugh! She was usually the funniest and most fun-loving person at the table. When it wasn't her turn, she'd forward the rest of us memes on her phone to keep the laughter going. I just got a copy of Trial by Trolley and I was looking forward to playing it with her for laughs.

And she loved kids. She made her living as a babysitter, taking care of a half-dozen kids of her friends, including some others in the group. Her daily Facebook posts showed them making crafts, swimming at the neighborhood pool, going out for ice cream, learning new games, and lately with schools closed, homeschooling. She was so invested in these kids: Her last couple of posts on Facebook (besides thanking everyone for the birthday greetings) showed her making individual graduation-at-home T-shirts to celebrate the kids finishing their respective grades, and helping them make craft projects to thank their teachers for the year.

As hard as this has to be on the kids, and on her boyfriend of several years, I feel especially for Nicole's mother. The poor woman has now lost her husband and both daughters in a three-year time frame, and I heard that she has no close family left. I can't even fathom what that kind of loss feels like.

For me personally, what makes this harder is that our gaming group can barely talk about it. We're self-isolating, and there won't be a memorial service until at least July thanks to the pandemic. A few of us had a video chat since to play some games online, but we could barely discuss her because it was so depressing; one person specifically said he wanted the games as a distraction from thinking about her. Other than one friend changing her profile photo to Nicole's beloved Eeyore, there hasn't been any kind of statement online by anyone in the group. Kelly and I have discussed it between us and I'm sure the other couples have too, but it feels so wrong not to gather in person as a group to talk about her or share some memories of her. This is no way to mourn a loss.

You know what they say, tell people that you care about them because you might not get another chance. I didn't get to tell Nicole how very much I appreciated her presence, and how much Kelly and I wished we could have spent more time with her. I hope we showed it in other ways.

2020 is just terrible. The Internet can go on joking about it, but I just can't bring myself to join in.

Eight Replies to R.I.P. Nicole

Matthew Preston | June 10, 2020
Scott, Kelly - So sorry for the loss of your friend. From what you described, she sounded like a wonderful person. Someone who cared about people and wanted them to be happy. Try and keep her memory alive and hopefully you'll all have the opportunity to grieve collectively soon. Everything happening in the world right now is making bad situations even worse. Someday we'll all be through this, but everyday is tougher than the last. Hang in there.

Scott Hardie | June 11, 2020
Thanks. I can't help but think of how different this passing would be in a normal year. But everything must be different right now.

Chris Lemler | June 12, 2020
Scott sorry for Kelly and your loss.

Scott Hardie | June 12, 2020
Thank you, Chris!

Lori Lancaster | June 17, 2020
My condolences Scott and Kelly :(

Scott Hardie | June 17, 2020
Thank you!

A memorial service has been scheduled for mid-July, so now we need to find a way to attend that safely, in a state where most people aren't taking any precautions at all. We'll figure it out.

Erik Bates | June 18, 2020
I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. This, sadly, is not the first time I've had a friend experience a loss during this time of COVID. It pains me to know that friends and families are unable to process and grieve the loss of their loved ones.

Scott Hardie | June 19, 2020
Thanks, and yeah, that's something I keep thinking: We're mourning just one loss. How many families are dealing with multiple losses right now, unable to process them? This is terrible.

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The creator of Funeratic, Scott Hardie, blogs about running this site, losing weight, and other passions including his wife Kelly, his friends, movies, gaming, and Florida. Read more »

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