Every October, I come back to this video
. And when I do, I cry. Heavy, deep sobbing. Each year, around this time, I come back to remind myself of someone who meant more to me, to who I am, than I ever realized.
A quiet, unassuming man, Peter Anderson was my first military supervisor. Likewise, I was his first troop. We learned from one another; I learned about the true operations of the Air Force, he learned about being a good leader.
Things weren't perfect, obviously. Whether I intended to or not (with my memory being as ****ed up as it is, it's hard to recall), I occasionally took advantage of his naiveté. He told corny jokes, and he rarely was the life of the party.
He always strove to do his best, however. And I always respected him for that. As Travis, Will, & Mark can tell you, he always went out of his way to help where help was needed.
Probably, one of the best memories I have of my early military career was the time that he, SSgt Borders, and I went to Atlanta for a Magic: The Gathering prerelease that was happening for the Legions set.
Years passed. He took an assignment to Offutt to be closer to his hometown, and I never saw him again. The following year (I think), I found myself in Jackson Hospital, being told that I had acute lymphocytic leukemia, as my mother & Mark looked on.
Fast forward about a year to October, 2006. Having dealt with heavy rounds of chemo, but regaining my lost health, I felt well enough to travel, so I decided to take a trip down to Montgomery to pay a visit to my military family. One night, as I visited Travis at work during a crunch time coding session, he asked me if I had heard what happened to Peter.
A great many things weight upon my heart & mind in the wake of going through cancer - my mother losing her job to be with me in my time of need, my father's crisis of faith over it, how I'll never be able to pay back one of my best friends for being there for me. But the thing that weighs heaviest upon me were the words that came out of Travis' mouth that night.
"He died a few weeks ago."
At first, I felt numb to the idea. I didn't know how to react to the passing of someone so integral to my military life. And to learn that what claimed him was the same ****ing beast that nearly ended my life a year prior. I sat there, dumbfounded at the situation.
It wasn't until the following October that the gravity of that hit me. Driving around one night, the song, "Watching Over Me," started to play. For some reason that night, the lyrics of the song came through clearly to me for the first time.
"I feel it once again
It's overwhelming me
His spirit's like the wind
The angel guarding me
Oh, I know, oh, I know
He's watching over me
Oh, I know, oh, I know
He's watching over me"
I pulled over, tears streaming down my face, belting out the song as my voice cracked. The grief hit me, and it was cathartic.
Few more years go by, and I am up late one night, running around Icecrown. I see a quest offered to me called, "A Tale of Valor." Completing the chain - bringing comfort and peace to a man dying of a horrible affliction - resonated with me in such a way that I sought more info. Alongside finding out that it was dedicated to a passed relative to a Blizzard employee, I came across this video.
Once again, the sorrow, the tears, the grieving returned.
I may never come to grips with his death. But at least the World of Warcraft has given me an outlet.
I miss you, Peter. I really do.