A little over 5 years ago, in the fall of 2011, I made the decision to abruptly leave the RAFO/Wotmania community without posting the typical egocentric “goodbye” post. A few of you knew why. For those who didn’t, and are slightly curious if you care at all, my addiction to the website became so all-encompassing that my wife gave me an ultimatum – RAFO or her. Obviously I made my choice.
So why am I posting now? Because Laurel Ellen LaRock Piacenza, my wife of 43 years, soulmate, love of my life, and best friend, is near death. She has a disease called myelodysplastic syndrome with multilineage dysplasia. It’s a rare form of bone marrow cancer and is untreatable. She was diagnosed in September of 2016. Currently she is receiving home hospice care with a life expectancy measured in weeks.
I have kept my promise to never participate in RAFO again – until now. Am I breaking faith? I suppose. I hope if there is any form of awareness after death that she will forgive me. I had sworn to myself I would wait until she was truly gone, but the imminent demise of this site and what’s left of the community drove me to this compromise with myself. Yet even as I click Submit, I am torn with self-recrimination and doubts. Yet one more opportunity for an old man to reflect on his life choices with uncertainty and regret.
Because in the end, does any of it matter? I discovered the Wotmania website in the spring of 1998 and lurked on it for nearly a year before making my first post. From 1999 until I left for good at the end of 2011, Wotmania and then RAFO were integral parts of my daily life. But over 5 years have passed and who is left from those early days? As I post this today in 2017, does anyone still here remember me at all? Is it my most narcissistic move yet to presume posting this will matter enough to anyone to justify even a little compromising my word?
I don’t expect answers to these questions. I have none. Not even to the most important question of all: what will I do when she is gone? To that, like all else of true importance, I have no clue. I just know that if “love is watching someone die,” it’s the most painful aspect of love one can imagine.
Ludo Ergo Sum
The Playful Parodist