On Thursday September 16, a good friend of mine unexpectedly passed away. Ron had Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy and was just 50 years old. It wasn't this disease that robbed myself and others of this wonderful person, but something else, which I don't know.
I suppose how is of little consequence when compared to why. I ask myself this of every friend I have lost during the 42 years of my existence, but an answer I can embrace and accept has yet to come. I'm getting off track here. This blog post is supposed to be about my good friend Ronald C. Pepi and not myself.
I never really met Ron face to face as far as I can remember, but I distinctly recall seeing him around at the Massachusetts Hospital School (MHS).
For those of you who don't know, MHS was a school for the disabled which consisted of a fully wheelchair accessible campus that had a high school, elementary school. hospital, gymnasium and a few office buildings as well as 4 dorms, which were referred to as cottages. Each cottage was setup according to age. Most students lived at MHS during the week and went home on weekends, holidays and school vacations. Some were day students who came from home every day.
Ron was a day student and 8 years older than I, which is why we never met face to face. He was in the high school crowd and I was in the elementary school crowd.
Fast forward to mid to late 2007. I discovered that I could play World of Warcraft when I decided to sign up for the 14 day free trial. Scott, one of the nurses who works at the hospital I live in was also a friend of Ron's. They had become friends when Ron was here for 4 months after breaking his leg. I told Scott I was playing Warcraft and it turns out that he and Ron also played. He wrote done the name of the server/realm they played on and their character names. I immediately made a character on that server/realm and added them to my friends list.
Talking to Ron in the game and later on Facebook and AIM was like talking to someone I had known for years. I only knew him by name from years ago. Now we were good friends. I came to know Ron as Zugzugdahboo, his character's name. His guild friends called him Zug for short. He simply LOVED Warcraft. It was practically in his blood. It quickly became my all time favorite game.
Once my 14 day trial ended, I joined World of Warcraft as a paying member. Now I was able to join Ron's guild, the NationalRifleAssociation, reflecting his NRA enthusiasm and gun ownership. He was very helpful in helping me learn Warcraft basics. It wasn't long before he became like a big brother to me, always there for in game and out.
He genuinely cared about me and all those he considered true friends. That's without a doubt the greatest trait he possessed. He was definitely one in a million and I really miss him. Once I get an Internet connection resolved and I can log on to Warcraft, I will become the new Guild Master (GM), which is the wish of his sister. It will be an honor to keep his guild going in his name. R.I.P. my friend.
"Smile when you think of me. My body's gone that's all." -- Megadeth - 'A Tout Le Monde'