Our Story

Our Story

Contents

A New Beginning

Background.

Tonya

The Big Push

Forever and a Day

The Beginning of the End

Is there a Us?

Speechless

Disclaimer

A New Beginning

It had been about a month since I said those words to Brian.  Since I removed him from my life.  Those words will forever ring in my heart.  Those words will forever cause me pain.

I’m going to remove you from the guild and my life
I don’t want to be friends
I don’t want you to show up anymore

That familiar pain that you feel when you lose someone you love deeply. I ended the relationship. I had to walk away. Our relationship ended, and I couldn’t be friends with him.

Since that day in May the guild I built started to receive new members.  New people to talk to, to play with, and to have fun. Some joined us in Discord to join in the chatter, and some didn’t.  It was a start down a path that was once familiar before Brian.  It felt good to have new people, people to talk to, but my heart still ached for him.

Sam joined the guild about a week ago. He joined us in Discord but couldn’t talk.  He wasn’t the first member to not talk in Discord. He claimed he didn’t have a working mic. He seemed eager to play with me. It felt good to have someone express an interest in playing with me. He worked hard at leveling his character through old content and new. He worked hard to catch up to my item level so we can run content matching my skills. He wasn’t on every day, and he seemed to know my schedule.  He knew when I would be on the most and attempted to be there. He asked me to let him know when I was on so he could join, and I would.

I never hid from anyone the pain I felt. The feelings I still held onto. When Sam messaged me asking how my day was, I gave him an honest answer, “I’m heartbroken”.

“Why?” he typed.

“Long story, but I recently went through a breakup, and I still love him.” I replied.

Sam didn’t ask me about the relationship, he just seemed to be there.  Sometimes he would give me a /hug in-game, and sometimes I would reciprocate. I don’t remember when it was, but Sam told me he had recently gone through a breakup, and it was his fault.  He never meant to cause her the pain he did, and he missed her.  A part of me wanted to tell him to run to her, tell her he still loves her, and do everything he can to make it work.  But that would mean losing what Sam and I had.  I felt selfish for holding on to him. But I needed Sam to be there. I needed someone to be there.

Background

Hi, I’m Tracy.  Also known as Cassie.  The Dragon Empress of Nation of Dragons, which is a World of Warcraft guild I established many years ago to find people to play the game with.  I started playing World of Warcraft in November of 2008 after my divorce was final. Prior to playing I had been suicidal, and I had shut down from society.  I gained weight and wanted nothing to do with dating. I felt playing a game was a safe alternative to socializing face to face.  Playing the game saved my life and gave me something to look forward to every day.

When Brian originally joined my guild in the spring of 2022, he joined the horde version. While messaging each other I told him we were more active on the alliance version.  He created a character to join the alliance version. At that time the guild had twenty active players. Some were more casual than others. We had four minors and the rest adults. People from all walks of life. Some religious and some not. Some enjoyed talking in guild chat and others not. Some joined us regularly in Discord and others didn’t have a Discord account. At times we attempted to raid as a guild, but mostly we ran mythic+ keystones to pass our time together.

At first Brian ran mythic+ keystones with me and my son Ryan. Ryan and I had a schedule and a plan. We would switch between different characters running several keystones during the week. Brian would message me asking me to let him know when we were on so he can join us. He fit it so I would let message him when Ryan and I were going to be on. Brian seemed to have my back by letting me know when a rare was being pulled, helping with content that would normally be difficult on my healer, or just to message me “happy birthday”.

Looking back through our earlier messages it was clear he wanted to spend time playing with me. He made an effort, and I accepted him into my life.

Tonya

Tonya is a complicated story to tell. She is, or was, my sister. She was 15 months younger than me. Growing up we were more like twins than sisters. I am the middle child of three daughters to my mother. Between Tonya and I, we had attempted suicide more than a dozen times. Most attempts as minors. My first attempt was when I was 11 years old. I won’t go into details of what made me want to take my own life at 11, but I was aware of my depression starting at 9 years old. We did not grow up in a healthy household. There was abuse, physical, mental, and sexual.

In 2010 my sister, Tonya, and my mother had a falling out. They were living together when it happened. My son Ryan helped my mother move from the house they were renting together into a two-bedroom apartment. My mother cut all ties with my sister. She claimed there were accusations of child abuse again my mother towards my sister’s youngest daughter. For the next 11 years I’ll be the primary person in my mother’s life. She was estranged from my older sister in 2010 and that would continue for many years to come.

In January 2021 my mother received her official diagnosis of small cell lung cancer. It was detected early but required surgery to remove a lobe of her right lung plus follow-up chemotherapy. While driving her to one of her appointments prior to her surgery, I brought up Tonya and asked her if she wanted to me reach out and bring Tonya back into her life. All my mother told me was that she didn’t want to know if I choose to do it because it would hurt her knowing that Tonya didn’t want to be involved in her life. I respected that decision and reached out to Tonya through a friend. Tonya contacted me and I filled her in on everything plus caught her up to speed on our lives during a 4-hour phone call.

Our mother visited Tonya before her surgery. Although Tonya knew our mother lied during that first meeting she decided to remain in our mother’s life. The day of our mother’s surgery Tonya showed up at the hospital and we spent many hours together talking. A few weeks after the surgery everything fell apart. My mother rejected Tonya and in turn became angry with me. I was told I will not be able to be involved in my mother’s journey while she undergoes chemotherapy. That was devastating to me. My mother yelled at me, “that is not my daughter!” in reference to Tonya. I did not yell back but offered to leave. The relationship between my mother and me has never recovered. I never told my sister what our mother said. I listened to my sister breakdown in tears, realizing that our mother wanted nothing to do with her.

On September 21st, 2022, Tonya took her own life one day after her 55th birthday. She shot herself in the head at the grave site of our stepfather. She wanted to be close to him. He was the glue that kept us together as a family.

The Big Push

To create fun within the guild we started having in-game competitions. This started on September 23rd, 2022. The morning of the 23rd I received a text message to my phone from a phone number that I didn’t recognize. It was from my niece, Tonya’s youngest daughter. She was informing me that Tonya took her own life, and she needed space and time before she could talk about it with me. I fell to the ground bawling as my youngest son came running in. I lost a part of me on that day.

Given today was supposed to be about having fun, I reached out to Brian and told him about my sister. Many of our conversations told me I could safely let him know.  He would be understanding and be there in silence to ensure the guild had fun that night. After a night of laughter, a lot of drinking, and having fun, Brian messaged me the next day asking, “how are you doing today?”. I was grateful to see someone ask me that question.

This was the start of our journey. It brought us together. He lost his mother, no to suicide, but she died when he was a teenager. We were both broken in similar but different ways. We were there for each other, and we held each other’s hearts with kindness and care that felt like it would last forever.

Forever and a Day

When Ryan went back to college to work on his post-bac in bio-chem, Brian and I found ourselves alone. That is when Brian told me that I’m loved. Those words took me by surprise, and I didn’t know if I heard what I thought I heard. Later we talked about it. He did say what I heard that I am loved by him. Here is a man, much younger than me, telling me that he loves me. He lives about 2,200 miles away from me in Michigan and I’m in Oregon. Brian is 24-years younger than me, and I had a rule to not date men younger than me. But there he was. Saying those words that I have not heard for 16 years. Although cautious I consciously entered a relationship with him.

It wasn’t until I was in Nashville for business that the real fun began. I sent him pictures and he sent me pictures. We had fun with each other while I was there.  I was alone and didn’t need to worry about being walked in on or heard.

When I arrived home, we would spend hours talking to each other and often talk to each other after we went to bed. We always ended the night by saying “good night. I love you.” We started every day with “good morning. I love you.”

Brian purchased a webcam so we could video chat. I remember seeing excited to see him for the first time over the webcam.  My Brian. My love.

During the day he would always ask me how my day was. Normally he did this during his first break while at work. I would follow up by asking him how he was.

All was fine for the first year of our love affair. We loved each other today, tomorrow, forever and a day.

During our many hours of conversations Brian expressed a desire to go back to college and get a certificate or degree in welding.  I already had my bachelor’s degree in computer science and supported his decision to go back to school.  I was excited when he applied to start school in the fall of 2023.

The Beginning of the End

Like all relationships out there ours was not flawless. Both of us had our own issues we brought into the relationship. For me it was my depression and feelings of being rejected by my mother and others throughout my life. For Brian it was depression and feelings of being rejected as well, but for different reasons. We tried to be careful and take into consideration each other’s feelings, but egos often get in the way, and we don’t always see through the veils we wear while telling ourselves we are thinking of others.

November 18th 2023 was a Saturday.  A busy day for myself and my son, Ryan. Normal Saturday household stuff, a college football game in the evening, and my oldest son’s, Mike’s, birthday on the 19th. I had told Brian we would be busy. We wouldn’t be available to run mythic+ keystones Saturday night like normal. Nor would we be on Sunday afternoon like normal. Therefore, we needed to run those keystones Saturday afternoon before dinner. Our morning started out like normal with both of us saying good morning and expressing our love for each other.

Brian was out hunting that day. Brian didn’t message me while he was out like he normally does, and I didn’t message him. Instead, I headed into a keystone with my son. Brina arrived home and join us in Discord. He didn’t express that he was upset after I apologized for not waiting for him.

I messaged him, “sorry we didn’t get a chance to really talk” after I logged off to go have dinner.

Brian replied, “that’s okay you were busy when I got on.”

I responded with, “I don’t know you would have showed up. Otherwise, I would have waited. I don’t know when I’ll get more in. Hopefully after the game.”

Brian didn’t respond. Discord shows a call ended at 8:29 pm that night. It was a 16-minute call. I knew I was hurting.  I knew I was upset. I was distraught by Brian’s actions. He chose to do content without me after promising me he wouldn’t. We agreed to wait and do it together. He ended his night with, “Have a good night dear. I love you. Have sweet dreams.”

I did not tell him that I loved him before going to bed. Instead, I messaged, “I need to know if you want a relationship with me. I have been questioning that for a while now. I honestly feel you don’t, and you don’t know how to tell me. I’m hurt, and I am still hurting. I don’t know how else to say it, but I’m in a lot of pain.” I ended it with “Good night”.

The next day we went back and forth, but Brian managed to still say “I love you” in the morning and before going to bed. I did not tell him that I loved him on this day. A part of me felt he broke up with me. A part of me wanted to end our relationship, our story, at that time.

If you are reading this and are thinking to yourself that World of Warcraft is just a game, I am here to tell you that you are right.  It is, but the game had become integrated with my life because I have used it as my primary way of working through my thoughts of suicide and depression for many years. It was my primary way of socializing while having fun.

Brian broke a promise he made to me out of spite. He did it because I ran a keystone with my son, and he knew we needed to run that keystone on Saturday during the day because of our plans. I can easily go into he could have done this, or he should have done that, but I won’t. The fact is that he intentionally went out of his way to cause me emotional pain, and he promised not to hurt me in that way.

On the 20th of November we continued to have words back and forth. We did not video chat that day. Brain ended the day with his normal, “have a good night. I love you. Lots of hugs and kisses. Have sweet dreams.” I ended the night trying my best to be light and said,

Good night and sweet dreams. Don’t let the bed bugs bite and remember to make a wish on the first star you see tonight. May your dreams come true.

I know you want me to tell you that I love you, which I do. I’m just in a lot of pain. I have accepted it a long time ago that I will die alone. I have no one to hold me when I need it, or hug me when I cry.

Please have a good day tomorrow. I hope you did good on the test.

On the 21st Brian started out with only a “good morning”. When I woke up, I said, “Good morning. Have a good day. I know your presentation is coming up. Focus on school. I want you to do well.”

Brian then asked me if I wanted him in his life or not. I responded with “yes”. That is when he told me to take a deep breath and he admitted to intentionally hurting me by doing content he said he won’t do. He justified his actions because he hyper focuses and it was about his wants. I responded if he continued to raid without me, then we don’t have a healthy relationship.  I didn’t tell him he couldn’t. I just said we don’t have a healthy relationship. He then said he will be done playing. At that time, we started going back and forth arguing.

We spoke via video chat for a couple of hours and Brian ended the night with just a “have a good night and sweet dreams”.  Meanwhile, I told him “I love you” in my message to him.

The next morning, on the 22nd, Brian did not tell me he loved me in the morning.  Both of us told each other we loved each other before going to bed that night.

For the next month I felt like I was chasing after Brian asking if he was leaving the game. He wouldn’t really answer the question. We continued to express our love for each other, but things were different.  No more video sex, pictures, or evenings alone flirting. There was a lot we needed to work through.  Both of us emotionally beat each other up and we needed to work through this and figure out how we were going to work together to continue our relationship, but we didn’t talk about our relationship. We didn’t talk about our love for each other. We just existed together. We were changed.

Is there a Us?

From January through April 2024, we started to really drift. Brian told me he was going through a phase where he didn’t want to be around people, and it was best I just give him time and space. I felt rejected. It was in January when I started to fully forgive him for his actions towards me in November, but he wasn’t there for me emotionally. He was aloof. When I tried to flirt with him, he told me he couldn’t help. I had been going through some medical “issues” and was experiencing anxiety. I expressed that I may die earlier than desired, and he mentioned that everyone dies. His behavior was not normal towards me, and that really hurt. All of this was causing me to drift down a road of depression and suicidal thoughts. I want to be clear; I am not suicidal. I want to live. I am very depressed. I do not place blame on Brian for causing my depression, but his behavior was causing me a lot of pain.

In mid-April, I asked him to make time for me to talk about our relationship. I had intended on ending our relationship in a friendly manner which hopefully would result in us just being friends. He asked me if I wanted a relationship with him, and I answered “yes”. He then asked me to not take his actions personally, that it was him, not me. I agreed to not end the relationship after expressing I need more than just a one day per week relationship with him.  I needed more.

Before the end of April, I had a full-blown emotional meltdown. I think all the hurt I had been feeling for the last six months came out in one night after he refused to include in voice while raiding with some of his friends. I sat in silence and isolation while they organized fights within the raid. I also got to watch him interact with them while ignoring my existence. I tried to put it in a way and explain it to him that it is like going out with your partner and they end up leaving you to sit alone at a table while they run off dancing and talking with other people. I wasn’t included but excluded. This was his choice, not mine.

On April 29th I told Brian “good bye”. He ghosted me first thing the morning after and left my guild and Discord. My statement to him was never meant to be the end of his existence within my guild, but to end the arguing between us. I really wanted to send him a message releasing both of us from the pain we were causing each other, but I was exhausted. On May 1st, I reached out to him via text message on his phone. We texted each other for a little bit and he eventually rejoined my guild and Discord. He expressed to me that he still loved me, and I told him that I love him.  He wanted to take a step back and take things slow, and I was okay with that.

Sadly, his behavior of not spending time with me, belittling my feelings, not taking responsibility for his actions, and deflecting when I’m addressing his behavior continued. He expected me to jump through hoops to spend time with him, and when I did jump through those hoops, he made excuses by adding additional hoops to jump through.

On May 11th I typed out those words that forever changed everything…

I’m going to remove you from the guild and my life
I don’t want to be friends
I don’t want you to show up anymore

Speechless

Months have passed since that day in May.  Sam is in my life.  I don’t look to him for a relationship, but companionship. A special kind of friendship. I don’t know a lot about him. I have not heard his voice. I only see the words he sends me through Discord messages.  Those daily “good morning”, “good night” messages. I can’t reach out and touch Sam. He can’t hug me, nor can I give him a hug. But those daily words are hugs enough.  Spending time with me has deepened the friendship between us.

Then one day Sam told me he bought a webcam and wanted to video chat with me. Today was going to be a special day.  I finally get to see what he looks like and to hear his voice.  After months of not hearing him talk, just reading words, I finally got this chance.

Sitting in front of my computer I felt like a school kid.  Excited and nervous at the same time. He asked me if I still had feelings for Brian, and I told him “Yes.”  The love I have for Brian will always exist. Sam asked me to close my eyes while he turned on his video. He typed he didn’t want to scare me away with his looks. I laughed and smiled.

I sat there with my eyes closed. Then I heard his voice say, “Tracy, open your eyes.”

I knew the voice. My eyes started to tear up and I opened them to see Brian sitting in front of me. Then he said, “I love you.” I knew tears started to flow and I didn’t know what to say or do. I just knew that I still loved him.

Our story isn’t over. I don’t know how it will end. I just know that…

If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be. – Unknown

Disclaimer

A New Beginning and Speechless are made up. Sam is the name I gave a feral cat that I have been taking care of since January of 2023. He adopted me after months of me showing him kindness. I don’t expect to ever hear from Brian again.  I wrote this as my way to deal with the pain I’m feeling due to the loss of a relationship. After more than 16-years of isolating myself from having a relationship, it was difficult to allow myself to have a relationship. I don’t regret having a relationship with Brian. It showed me that I’m still capable of loving a man and allowing him to love me back. But it was also a reminder that sometimes love will bring pain. I’m ready to date. I’m ready to love. My story is not over.