The Journey So Far: Cancer, Video Games, and My Father.

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Let me start with a few simple things. This is going to be a personal piece, I often deal with things I’m struggling with by writing them out. Now, while this is going to touch on a personal story, it very much relates to both video games, and to my journey in the industry. The point of this piece, is two fold, firstly to help me grapple with a situation very much beyond my control, and perhaps something others can relate to.

Recently my Father has been diagnosed with a form of Cancer, which currently resides in his head in a very precarious position. Needless to say the prognosis is about as could be and while there is always room for hope and treatment options, the possible side effects of the treatment is potentially almost as bad as not doing anything. Doing nothing puts a distinct limit on time remaining, and the treatment carries the risk of memory loss up to and including his not knowing who any of us are. So potentially I could be losing my Dad either way.

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My relationship with him has been complicated for much of my life, and there were times where we had very little contact between us. I’m not going to go deeply into it, because frankly it’s in the past and in recent years we’ve resolved much of those issues. (It helped that I grew up, matured, and you realise life is to short to carry all the misunderstandings and childish angst around is bad for you.) At the end of the day I love my father, and while I can’t change what has happened between us, I grew past it and now I’m facing the reality that I might not have him around for much longer. It’s been rough, in a year of rough patches this caps things off and also as I’m sure you’ve noticed has directly impacted the site in the last few months. So where you ask does this relate to video games?

Video games, my passion for, interest in, and work in video games, not to mention my love of Fantasy and Science-Fiction are all directly tied to my father, and my relationship with him. Even when I was kid, on the rare times I did spend time with him, we shared our love of books, of movies, of music, and of course video games.

In my teens, most of the time I did spend with him was generally spent playing video games together. It was something we could connect on that didn’t have emotional baggage attached to it. It was a safe zone we could discuss and spend time together doing and ultimately it’s been video games that brought us together and led to our reconciliation. We had fun, sharing adventures, be it playing Final Fantasy VI together on SNES, or raging about that silly Football game on the Sega Genesis. As I grew up and began to presue my career in writing, and worked to find gigs in the games industry my dad has stood behind me and has been one of my staunches supporters. Even when I’ve reached low points and wanted to give up, he would be one of the first to read me the riot act and tell me that if it’s what I really want to do, not to give up and keep fighting, keep going forward.

Now the roles are somewhat reversed. While my dad is one of the most stubborn people on the planet and I know he will fight tooth and nail to beat the odds, I’m going to stand behind him cheering him on, supporting him when he needs it, and making the most of the time we have left. As much as I was angry with him as a child I know deep down I am my father’s son and so very much like him. It really took having kids of my own to see that but it’s true. I’m a mix of the best and worst things of both my parents. especially when it comes to stubbornness.

I also know that should he read this, I fully expect a phone call from him yelling at me for letting my work slide on the site. He has always been a hard worker with a sometimes too punishing work ethic that I have tried to emulate at times. He has taught me so many things, and the thought of losing that scares the shit out of me. Video Games, and writing are my passion, and as cliche as it sounds to say a calling I strive to answer, I ust get my act together and get back to work.

I am going to be struggling with this situation for some time, and I am grateful for the staff and readers whom have come to work and read the site over the years. I do this work for myself, for all you, and in many ways I do it for my dad. I love him, and I don’t want to disappoint him. Cancer, it’s effects, and the chaos that surrounds it is tough for everyone involved, the patient and the families. Make the most of the time you have and spend every moment doing the things you love. My journey will continue, and I’ll carry all the lessons he has taught me and still has to teach me.

Lastly, and pardon the vulgarity, but Fuck Cancer, Fuck it in the ass with a razor-blade covered pine cone.

About David "AnjelusX" Slauenwhite
Anjel Syndicate Editor-in-Chief, Gamer, Lover of Books, Conjurer of Words, Worlds, and Stories, Coffee Worshiper, and Nova Scotian. "I've been gaming since I stood on milk crates to reach the controls. New games, retro games, you name it, I probably love it."