Note: This was originally composed on the 11th of April, 2015. Only minor corrections to the page have been performed, as I was not in the best state of mind when I typed up the original.
As is now public after Shadow's decision to post in the open about
the loss of her two children, I have been fielding the same questions over and
over again - I am hoping this page will help people to understand who I am, how
we met, and what Shadow has had to go through.
The individual you know as
Shadowdancer has not had an easy life - a comment many people claim, but few
really comprehend. When I met her online, she seemed no more or less remarkable
than anyone else. When she said her life had been difficult, I assumed it was
simply the usual complaints you get from the majority of the Human race in the
This page exists because that assessment was wrong.
In Memory Seda / Lineage II
How We Met - Online
From Unknown to Friend
Shadowdancer and her partner Rhain both played a game called Lineage II. So did
I; it is a fantasy-adventure MMORPG run by a horrible company for whom their
customer service manual is analagous to the repair reference for a cistern. That
didn't matter - we all enjoyed the game, and that's why we were there.
Clans dominate most of the gameplay in MMORPGs, and Lineage II is no different.
I joined a small clan who had big plans - to join another clan, and become
active in castle sieges (a huge factor in Lineage II). What I did not know, is
that the clan I was in contained an alliance - with a small role-playing clan
that my clan wanted to abandon. I would have left in ignorance had Shadowdancer
not greeted me in chat while I was in one of the major trading towns. Once I
knew there were more people, I attempted to teach them what I knew so that they
would not be left behind.
That was my first interaction with Shadowdancer
- someone in an online game who was about to be ditched by my clan leader.
A few things transpired that are not
relevant to this page, but suffice it to say I ended up as the clan leader of a
new guild - as I was not satisfied with how people were being treated in the old
alliance. Shadowdancer joined me - as did her partner, Rhain. Several other
great friends came with us - some of you will know them; Sethstorm, GothPixie,
and many more.
And then Shadow & Rhain told me something; Rhain is a
serving ADF member, and he was about to be sent to Afghanistan at the same time
Shadow was being given permanent residency to Australia. This didn't seem like
it was going to be the easiest thing to me - and I thought I could make a
difference, so I flew from Adelaide to Townsville to try and help look after her
and the two kids while he was away.
Eyes Never Opened
Rhain fortunately returned to Australia after his tour
without a scratch. I don't know for certain, but I'm guessing they celebrated as
couples do. Shortly after his return, Shadow fell pregnant.
I can't say I
really understood why people want babies at this point. I only learned that
later. I only knew she was increasingly excited as the pregnancy progressed. It
wasn't long before we knew that something was wrong.
Shadow was under a
lot of stress during this period from outside causes. Her health suffered
because of it. Whether that affected the baby passing or not is unknown, but on
the morning of the delivery, I received the text message nobody wants to get;
sometime during labour his heart had stopped.
I remember staring across
the kitchen at the two kids who were waiting to hear some news about their
mother. She remained in hospital for several days, and I did my best to keep the
Damien was a member of the family, even though he never
opened his eyes to the world. It is often quoted that people aside from the
mother do not really view a stillborn child as a person. You never realise how
true that is until it happens to someone near you. Damien was very much Shadow &
Rhain's son, and they continue to love him as they do their other children.
I remember when I saw him inside the hospital, and he looked every bit as
perfect as you would expect a newborn to do - he just wasn't animate. Damien's
death affected me - which surprised me more than anyone else - but I was mostly
affected by the knowledge that Shadow, Rhain, and the kids would be miserable
and there was nothing I could really do about it. I also knew that Shadow needed
a baby - not out of some selfish desire to simply have another child, but
because she needed to spread her love to another child. This sounds clumsy, but
I suspect parents reading this will understand.
I guess the best I can
convey how I felt about this was that watching Rhain dismantle the crib was
extremely unsettling. I can't fathom how he found the strength to do so.
Happy, but Brief
Brandon was born after some pregnancy complications
early this year. It was the first time I had lived in a house with a newborn.
Shadow treasured the child from the start. The first I spent time with him was
when she needed to use the bathroom - Brandon was placed on a large soft chair
in our lounge, and I sat there to make sure he would not wiggle off and roll
onto the floor. He seemed content to wave his arms and legs around and stare at
me though, so that never became an issue.
He was a very happy child -
each day he would be cuddled for hours, carried around to see all sorts of
things - and he loved it. He would look around at the sky, us, and anything else
around him. It was all fascinating to him; as you can see from the photo to the
left, he was quite alert.
The day before his last sleep I had carried him
outside to show him the rain. He was very fascinated by that, and held his hand
out as he looked around.
The next time I saw him was when I was woken by
the horrific screams of Shadowdancer at 11AM the next day. I rushed to her room
as soon as I could, and tried as she had to save the child - but it was too
late. By the time the ambulance arrived, my mind had given up but my heart had
not. It took a phone call for me to get the news, and even then I found it
difficult to accept how suddenly he had departed.
I will not post images
of Shadow, Rhain, or her other children online - but if you are curious, here
are some pictures of Brandon being held by me.