Over the weekend I discovered that my friend Barron had died of cancer, aged 34.
Barron was the co-creator of the Raw Deal CCG and was, for quite some times, essentially my 'boss' although it was a lot more complicated than that. We remained in communication for many years from my creation of Squared Circle to his seclusion during his battle with the disease.
I had to pleasure of meeting Barron four times when I was taken out to Wrestlemania to report the Raw Deal World Championships. There are many things that strike you about Barron. His size (he makes me small), his presence, his intellect, his force of personality, his beligerent attitude, his amazing self confidence for a man of his size and his sense of humour. I remember having long debates with him on wrestling, cards, comics, politics, Babylon 5 and the cultural differences between the US and the UK. I even taught him to swear in English so he could insult me correctly.
In his corner of the internet, and therefore the world, Barron was a provocative personality and earned himself as many enemies as he did friends. I have been proud to see however, tribute threads appearing on a number of websites and people putting their grudges aside to acknowledge the man who was the powerhouse behind the Raw Deal CCG.
My personal feelings on this are strange. I don't usually feel grief when people die. Even the death of my mother last year was met with a sort of stoic acceptance of reality. What I did realise at that time was that my immediate family was becoming radically smaller and smaller as the years passed, with only myself and my father remaining (and my wife and kids, obviously) and thus I combat a profound feeling of loneliness with an affirmation of the importance of my friends as an extended family.
This is the first time one of my friends has died since I was five years old. The world suddenly seems a little smaller, a little colder and a little bit more isolated.
Wherever you are now, BVT, I hope you and Canaan-Axl are happy and at peace and writing the great CCG in the sky.