Early in the morning on Monday, September 4th, I lost my dear friend and co-host Alex to a fatal pulmonary embolism.
Alex was the first person I had in mind when I created these podcasts. I’d known them* for ages from #wiigii! — they rode with me to BotCon 2007, on the maiden voyage of my new-to-me ’92 Volvo 240 wagon — and co-hosted the 80-Pagecast along with some other friends, and, along with David and a few friends from other communities, they joined a D&D group I helped put together on Discord. That group became fast friends, and Alex was someone I knew I wanted to do more with — and someone I could tell was the sort of kind, shy person who needed someone to make sure they were included.
Kindness and generosity defined them, but it was the kind of generosity born of believing that everyone is more deserving than you. I’ve had my own ongoing struggle with depression and mental illness — and with the lingering trauma of being chronically treated like the least important person in the room — and it helped us help each other. I’ve had a very rough year, and they helped me through it not just financially but by being the sort of friend who will remind you, in your darkest hour, that there are people out there who care if you live or die. And I did my best to try to be that kind of friend for them, too. They helped me move, and drove an hour each way and crashed on my Lovesac overnight to do it — and for my part I coaxed them into overcoming their depression enough to come out for that one last visit.
I’m not certain where we’re going with Stasis Pod and Iacon Underground Radio from here. All of us want to continue, but it’ll take at least a couple weeks until any of us are up to it — it was hard enough for David to finish editing the Black Friday episode after we learned what had happened after Alex went to the hospital. Watch our Twitter feed for updates.
A few people have asked about charities and the like, and I’m recommending donations in their memory be sent to Take This, an organization that “seeks to inform our community about mental health issues, to provide education about mental disorders and mental illness prevention, and to reduce the stigma of mental illness“. Alex’s death was not a suicide, but those who spoke with them on an everyday basis know depression made it hard for them to get medical help, and I believe that was a contributing factor. A mutual friend from that D&D group has dedicated her first (now free-to-read) Patreon story to Alex’s memory, and we’ll be looking into sending some of our Patreon donations to Take This as well.
- There’s been some confusion due to some in the community who knew Alex was exploring the possibility of being trans and chose to effectively transition them posthumously. Alex was a complicated person, and among close friends who shared their everyday experiences, it was common knowledge that they were exploring it but were not at all ready for a transition beyond using gender-neutral pronouns — which is what I’m using here. I ask the admin of the TFWiki to reverse the forced transitioning that was done in haste and without consulting with Alex’s closest friends, use Alex’s preferred (neutral) pronouns at the time of their death, and leave the issue as a biographical note — something that was planned for the future of their story but tragically never got to be canon.