Twice this week someone I’ve met through the Macworld forums has passed away. I got the email a few days ago from a friend of his. It was by far the saddest piece of news to ever enter my inbox. Chris Breen, who knew him longer than I, has written an excellent forum post about it. Please read it. Chris has far more experience writing and his piece is really touching. One snippet hit me pretty hard.
During one such exchange Grant and I engaged in a heated debate about the benefits of bleu cheese dressing (complete with Grant’s never-fail recipe for same). If you glance at just about any of his posts you’ll see that he continued to integrate a part of his “real” life into many of them–often illustrating a point by talking about how his wife Mo was amazed by some new trick he made his Mac perform or passing along a wholly unrelated tidbit about life in the mythical-sounding Pahrump, Nevada.
I never met Grant. I don’t know what he looked like. I don’t know what kind of car he drove or much about what he did earlier in life. I do know, however, that Grant was a sterling reminder of just how kind, generous, and helpful people can be. Our forums will be poorer without him.
Chris brings up an interesting point that I really didn’t think about too much until I started telling people close to me. Part of dealing with the loss of someone you cared about is communicating what you knew of them to others. It’s a cathartic experience. However, when I explain how I knew Grant, people have so far said something along the lines that I didn’t really know him or that it seems like I knew him. As far as I’m concerned, I knew him. Downplaying the role that he played in his life has made it harder for me deal with it and keeps me from being able to express myself to that person. Maybe they’re trying to make things easier for me by trying to logically argue that I shouldn’t be that sad, maybe convince my brain it’s not that bad to lessen the blow. It’s not really having that effect though. I feel as though they are trivializing my feelings.
I do feel like I missed the opportunity to get to know him though. He had a huge impact on my life and I never so much as talked to him on the phone. Our interactions were limited to postings in the forums, private messages, and email. When I got to the forums, Grant had a large number of posts. I want to say the most, but back in the days of the Gabbery forums some people pumped their posts counts with one word entries. Grant didn’t. He spent much of his time scouring the forums for people to help and learning new knowledge to spread later. I couldn’t help but respect him and his astounding patience. He knew how to cool down a situation and deal with even the most abrasive poster. When I overstepped my bounds, Grant would call me on it.
When it came time to make the OS X Forum FAQ, Grant jumped right in, writing a guide to maintenance utilities, which I will be preserving on this website for posterity. As time wore on, my youthful enthusiasm helped me outpace him and my post count became #1. I even reached 10,000 posts. Grant only reached 9,548 posts, never breaking the five digit barrier. Also worth noting is that he posted enough to earn the coveted title of Forum God. If anyone deserved that title, he did.
He succumbed to leukemia Wednesday evening in a hospice in Nevada. There will not be a funeral. He’ll be cremated and his ashes spread at sea (a man after my own heart). His wife asked that no flowers, etc. be sent and instead that donations be made in his name to the hospice. If you knew Grant or my description of him moved you in any way, please contribute.
_Nathan Adelson Hospice
4141 Swenson St.
Las Vegas NV 89119_
You can even donate online.