As I sit here in this cozy little room talking quietly with my wife’s family, as her mother lies sleeping in her medical bed, I began to think about the broader meaning of family and community. I’ve always realized in a cursory way, that the Campaign Cartographer community was in many ways a family. But, until recently I had not fully grasped the true meaning of that fact.
Let us back up about a year. I had recently approached Mark and Simon about producing a city generator for them. We had determined that an April/May timeframe for completion would be just about right and I happily went about the task of creation.
Then my wife’s mother’s cancer returned in March. At first we didn’t realize it was the cancer but all of a sudden, my wife was busy taking care of her mother. Off to the doctors, taking over her bills and doing all of the household chores her mother used to do for herself but could no longer do them. I, of course, being the good husband, started doing all the little things that she no longer had time to do.
That seriously cut into my evening coding, especially in the middle of spring lambing season!
Well as you can guess, the month of May flew by and I felt embarrassed that I had missed my deadline. “I had given my word!” I never forgot my obligation, it was just that every day I would tell myself after getting all the chores done, maybe after driving back from the city where I picked up my wife from her mother’s house and took her out to dinner, that I could rest today and tomorrow would not be so hectic and I could get back to programming. And, since I was going to get it done, there was no need to tell Mark or Simon about my difficulties.
Here is my point about family and community. Unlike the rest of the world, you pull family and community closer to you in times of trouble. To the wide world your troubles are your own and since everyone has troubles, you just keep them to yourself. But, for family and community – to keep them in the dark on your troubles is not fair to them. They need to know so they can help.
So I screwed up my courage and finally contacted Simon explaining why I had not only missed the deadline but feared that I would not be finishing the program anytime soon. Now, you have to understand that ProFantasy is a business. It lives and dies by the products it makes and the reputation it has with its user base. They had announced that I would be creating such a tool for them and since then I had failed to finish it. In my mind, I had done them some amount of harm.
I should not have been worried. Simon not only told me not to worry about it, but asked if there was anything they could do.
Family, I should have known.
So that is why I am writing this to you now. After a second failed round of Chemotherapy/Radiation and now hospice, I wanted to tell the greater Campaign Cartographer community that I’ve not forgotten my promise to you. I may not get back to it soon, my wife will need a lot of help cleaning up and organizing the estate, but I promise I’ll finish when I can.
And I know that you will understand. Like I said, Family.