I’m not sure if anyone here knew Dragonspawned, a.k.a. David Driskel. But I figured he ought to have a eulogy somewhere.
I’m honestly not the person who should be writing this eulogy. I didn’t know David very well. We only corresponded a few times over the years via email, because he was a fan of my books. But when I tried to get in touch with him recently, I looked him up via social media and saw that all his accounts had been inactive for over a year. I grew concerned, and reached out to his family members via Facebook. Tonight his mother confirmed that he passed away in June 2017 from a heart attack.
David lived in a long-term care facility in a hospital. An accident some years prior had left him mostly paralyzed. His favorite things to do were read, and play War Dragons. He loved the game, as is evidenced by his Twitter and Facebook posts. He had his own guild once, a team called Jediorder. I believe he was either leader or an officer. You could tell he loved his team. He wanted to grow with them, to be the best in the game.
But alas, his time was cut short. His account is now inactive; his team is gone. Disbanded, perhaps, after they lost him – maybe his teammates never knew what happened. Maybe one day he just stopped logging on. The worst thing for me, when I was trying to search for any information about David, was the not-knowing. I could put the puzzle pieces together from what I saw across all his accounts, but still, some small part of me held onto hope.
Now that his fate has been confirmed, it is at once better and worse. Worse, of course, because I mourn his passing; but better because at least I have my answer. At least I know why I haven’t heard back from him. I don’t know what David’s quality of life was, but on some of his Facebook posts he mentioned “dreaming of a time when he would be out of pain”. At least now he is out of pain, and at peace.
And as I delved deeper, as I looked across his accounts, I couldn’t help but wonder: why was it so hard to ascertain what had happened to him? Where were all the posts of remembrance, of grieving, on his Facebook wall? Where were all his Twitter followers when his account suddenly went inactive? I understand social media is likely a poor method to judge by, but (1) it was all I had, and (2) it’s becoming more and more common to learn one’s news through these avenues. How could it be that someone who was that active online could slip away into nothingness without so much as a ripple in the vast pond of our vaguely overlapped lives? How could it be that someone who had such spirit could disappear without so much as a whisper in the electronic cosmos?
I didn’t know David well, nor did I have much chance to interact with him while he was alive. All I know of him is what I can glean from my online investigations. He lived alone in a hospital. He lived in pain. He didn’t have much in life…and yet, he wrote with such enthusiasm. He had such a spark. All his posts were positive – good god, that’s more than I can say for myself. He loved War Dragons. He loved his team. He loved my books.
He was kind to me, and I wish I hadn’t taken that kindness for granted. He was supportive at a time when I needed it most – even if neither one of us knew it back then. He left five-star reviews for me. He emailed me. “I would like to get the next books in this series,” he wrote. “Please tell me there are more.”
That was the last I ever heard from him.
David Driskel, who had next to nothing, gave me the most important things an aspiring young artist can ask for: encouragement, support, love. I wanted to give something back, but by the time I felt I had something to offer, it was too late. And for that, I will always be sorry.
The only thing I can offer now is the only thing I’ve ever had: my words. My voice. If I am a writer, then let me write him a eulogy. Let him be remembered somewhere, and let his memory be a reminder – to me, in particular, but also to every single one of us – that we should never take someone for granted. Let us be kind to each other. Let us be thankful for those who support us. And let us never pity people like David; instead, let us vibrantly and unapologetically appreciate them.
For you, David, I leave a five-star review. You had positivity, energy, faith, and a love for life that I frankly envy. I look at everything you left behind, and I see a kind and beautiful soul. I vow to be better and to do better in your honor. I am at a point in my life where I’m finding it difficult to go on with my writing – but I will draw inspiration from the way you lived. I will keep fighting. I will be brave. I will remember you.
Rest in peace, my friend. I hope you are frolicking in a pain-free, dragon-filled field in Elysium. May your wanderings be blessed.