How “God of War” and “The Last of Us” is helping me heal.

 

It was September 12, 2018, and I was playing my game like I usually do before I had to head out to work that afternoon. After my beat down session on Rainbow Six: siege, I usually go on social media to see “what’s going on in the world.” It was a joke that I told myself because everyone knows that people use social media just to complain and nothing more. Well, that day it wasn’t a joke. That day my whole life has changed once more.

I scrolled through my timeline until I saw a post from my god-kids mother announcing that my oldest god-daughter Kailee Jackson passed away the night before. My heart dropped to my stomach and everything around me just stood still. I couldn’t believe what I was reading and rushed to call her. I paced the floor as the phone rang hoping to God that this wasn’t true. She answered and the cries coming from the other line said it all, Kailee was gone, and she was never coming back.

I slowly sat on the floor leaning against the wall, as her mother explained to me that her asthma was the cause of her death. I tried to fight back tears as best I could, but when I couldn’t do it anymore, I told her that I would call her back. Once I hung up, I shouted, as the tears flowed down my face.  I shouted until I couldn’t shout anymore, asking why her? And not me? If anybody deserves to be alive right now, it should be Kailee.

It took us about a month or so to bury her, a month to find a way to explain to her little sister that she’s gone with the angels. A month for me not to lose my cool when her absent father finally wanted to know her. Truth be told, I pity him that he would never get to know her as I did in this life.

A few weeks would go by and I was sitting in my game room contemplating on what game I should play. I sat there for about ten minutes staring at my PlayStation and Xbox when I glanced over to the right and noticed GOW just sitting there. I instantly remembered that they had patched in a new game plus and wanted to try it out for myself, I mean why not enjoy an awesome, emotional filled game such as this, right? Well, it wasn’t the right time for me yet Because the scene when Kratos carried his wife body to the pyre instantly made me tear up again. I quickly turned off the game as tears ran down my face once more. I didn’t know what to do or how to do it. But I just prayed that something would come soon.

The following day I decided to go seek therapy that was free through my job. I figured I give it a try to see if it can help me and boy, did it ever. I’m still going to sessions today talking about Kailee and all the good times we had, even some of the bad ones. But with each session, I can remember her voice and her laugh. I can remember how tight she would hug me and whispered in my ears how many times she loved me. Even though I would never say it back, how much of a fool I was?

But a few weeks before Christmas I got a video of Kailee singing “Let it Go” from the movie “Frozen.” For the first time in a few months, I had a true smile on my face. I laughed until I couldn’t laugh anymore. It was at that moment that I wanted a second go at GOW and with the mindset to finish my second playthrough. But like always life had a different plan.

I noticed in my digital library “The Last of Us” was just sitting there. I remembered buying it a while ago but never got around to playing it. I even remember borrowing it from a friend during the PS3 era, but I only played like a few hours before returning it to him. But that day, exactly three months after her passing, something told me to play this game and don’t play anything else until I was finished with this one. And so, I did, and I don’t regret it.

TLOU and GOW made me realized something. Both Kratos and Joel both lost a child, and in the future, they were blessed (in one way or another) with another child. Kratos has a son that he tries to teach about life and how to survive it. Joel pretty much has a daughter in Ellie who he swore to protect her, even if it means sacrificing his life.

I guess what I’m saying is even though my god-daughter is gone physically, I can still feel her presence around me. I still have her sister who I try my best to protect and teach her things, and maybe one day, I’ll be blessed with kids of my own.

Before I end this, I want to elaborate on something really quick. I thought it was funny how two games with amazing stories helped me through my pain. As a writer myself, this is something I strive to do every day. Tell a story and hope they make someone feel good about themselves or help them when no one else will.

Even though this post was long, I would like to thank Neil Druckmann and Cory Barlog for making two wonderful games. I think if you guys never came up with the idea of these two games, I don’t think I’ll be where I’m at right now. My healing is still going, but I smile more and cry less when I think about her. Thank you guys and I can’t wait to play the next game you guys have cooking up.

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