RIFT players build remembrance garden for well-loved teen

    
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Just before Christmas, 17-year-old Nikita Hedingham was biking to a volunteer position when she was struck by a semi and killed. Her death has had a great impact on the RIFT community, where Nikita was known as Wintercharm, a well-known and -loved presence in the player housing sphere.

“She loved this game and you people so much so I wanted to say thank you for being so kind to her,” Nikita’s mother wrote. “One of her goals in life was to see the Trion building, so please remember her.”

RIFT players are doing their best to honor the life of Wintercharm by creating a remembrance garden on the Greybriar server. During the month of January, friends and well-wishers can add to the garden on Sundays. “This garden is to celebrate Wintercharms gorgeous life and give us all another place to visit if we just want to sit a while remembering her,” the garden’s organizer wrote.

Our sympathies to the family and friends of Nikita during this difficult time.

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draugris

Gaming communities have to deal with a lot of prejudice these times, it´s , despite the fact that it is because of a tragic event, great to see that there are caring people out there.

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Kelley

Thank you for posting this and our garden of remembrance, I always appreciate you Justin and everything you share of Rift.

Wintercharm touched many hearts in our community, especially her guilds and the dimension community her kindness and joy is so sadly missed. (Kiwi aka Kiwiflava)

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Knox Harrington

It’s sad that death can be so random and well out of our control. We go through life trying to embrace life and avoid death, but it can often be for naught. Here there’s this bright young lady, riding a bike to a volunteer job, and she’s cut down in her prime. Meanwhile, the most wickedly depraved of our species are alive and well. There’s just no rhyme or reason to it.

Humans have made art, religion, and philosophy for thousands of years trying to rationalize and humanize death, but perhaps the most accurate expression we’ve come up with so far is “shit happens”. That’s the only thing that seems to encapsulate how nonsensical death can be. Shit happens and there’s nothing we can do to stop it, though try as we might.

But what we can do in the face of that is to remind ourselves everyday just how precious life truly is and be grateful that we get to spend one more moment with our loved ones. We can honor those we’ve lost by living each day to its fullest, painfully aware that it could all be over in the blink of an eye.

If we can sustain that outlook, then somehow the meaninglessness of death makes our lives more meaningful. Shit happens and it sucks but there is some beauty to be found within tragedy when the grief of it subsides. Just seeing this community come together to honor this girl’s memory is proof enough of that.

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Tizmah

Yeah. I’ve seen horrible videos where someone simply trips on the sidewalk and lands under a moving bus. Such a dumb way to die, but that’s death and it sucks. Your last moment could be caused by something as simple as that. The universe, life truly doesn’t care. But it can’t care anyway. Its just a system really.

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Jerry

Very sad, the girl seemed sweet. But it is odd that people are attacking the concept of vehicle ownership…that is so not the point in this.

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Bruno Brito

It’s a discussion that should happen. Car accidents are not uncommon, and while hers was a more unfortunate course of events, they rarely are. Remembering the worth of a life is necessary for people to understand that when they drive two-ton heavy duty machinery, they are actually responsible for the lives of others.

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Alex Willis

This is very sad.

I’m fascinated by how MMO gamers mourn the passing of their online colleagues. Online memorials are something we all know from social media, but in living game communities, they take on a special significance. My brother was an avid gamer, and when he died, I kept his games very close. He died before MMOs really took off, but I like to think he would have made many friends in playing them.

Wintercharm was very talented. A terrible loss.

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Bruno Brito

Sigh…my condolences to friends and family.

And honestly, this may be the time to ask: Aren’t we a bit too overconfident with our vehicles? I think most people forget they’re driving two-ton heavy equipment, and that you should NEVER drive heavy machinery if you’re having a stressful day. People can get hurt.

Too young. Too damn young.

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Armsbend

People where I’m from drive like maniacs. I avoid riding a bike anywhere semis might frequent.

Where you are from people drive like maniacs on pcp.

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Bruno Brito

Yeah, and i use a bike. It’s terrifying. I’m known for being a person who jokes and plays with everything, i hardly bother myself to take things seriously.

But driving? I take it VERY seriously, because i use a bike. I NEVER play around my bike, always having to doublecheck everything, etc etc. Having to trust the kindness of drivers and strangers when there’s none apparent is fucking scary.

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Alex Willis

Cars are murdermachines we’ve gotten used to living next to (or in, depending on your commute). We tolerate them because we associate them with freedom. But they’re lethal, and we don’t care to change our ways to live better. Cars are the symbol of our hubris.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

Cars are getting closer and closer to driving themselves. We are changing because of that. Newer cars have more and more safety features to prevent this kind of stuff. They now can auto stop when something pops out in front of them, they are starting to be able to avoid accidents and going out of bounds on their own. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re getting close.

This was a horrible accident for sure. We like to find something to blame when death hits us, but in this situation this person fell into the road, so it’s a situation that any vehicle at all would have still caused the same outcome unless we all were riding bicycles or walking. Not all of us live in cities or climates where that is practical.

A horse and buggy can become a death machine if someone falls in front of or under it as it’s going by. If we were all using public transportation this stuff could still happen too. Are you advocating that we all should walk or bike? It’s -20 degrees out with snowy roads and nothing that super close to me, that just doesn’t work for me here.

I don’t want to take away from the terrible tragedy that’s being aknowledged here or anything as it was a terrible thing. But should we really blame vehicles when someone falls into the road as one is passing? I guess you’re blaming us all for driving.

I was in the same car with my Father in the accident that killed him and I don’t even call cars death machines… I didn’t blame people for driving, only the one specific piece of trash that was driving the car that hit us, since he was drugged out of his mind and didn’t have control of his vehicle because of that.

Back to the subject at hand, her death does make me feel literally sick to my stomach. And she was going out that day because she wanted to volunteer for the SPCA? That makes it so much more terrible to hear about and have happen. She was out to try to do something good for animals and gets killed. It’s heartbreaking.

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Bruno Brito

I’m going to repeat: I’m not blaming the driver in this case, i’m using this case to present a discussion.

I have too many hot-headed people in my family that drive. Honestly, everyone can drive nowadays, and that’s my point. It’s offputting. Cars are not toys. People shouldn’t own heavy machinery just because they have the money and can’t be assed to take the bus.

It’s the reason why my city in particular is one of the most violents. Car accidents and gun-robbery followed by murder. And most of these overlap. Here in Brazil, you should never fight with a stranger because you don’t know what he has that can screw you up.

As a bike user ( normal bike ), i DEPEND on the kindness of the drivers to be alive. And honestly, it’s hard to find that nowadays.

Cadaver
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Cadaver

It’s a discussion that rarely achieves a positive outcome in my experience. It too often deteriorates into a shit-flinging contest between petrolheads and cycling activists. That’s not to say that we should not all try to instil attitudes of mutual respect and consideration between different groups of road users. It’s just that acrimonious online debates rarely work towards that objective. And when such debates follow hotly on the heels of tragic accidents like this, they really do no service to the memory of the deceased.

As a daily bike commuter and a keen cyclist, I do share your perspective. I despair at the inattentiveness of some drivers (and also the recklessness of some cyclists). In the long term I’m putting my faith in the sorts of technologies that Mewmew mentions. Safer, autonomous vehicles along with convenient services that will reduce both the need and the demand for privately owned cars. Also, cheaper and more efficient ebikes that will encourage less confident and less fit riders to venture out on two wheels (very handy in a windy, hilly city like this). But for now all I can do is ride assertively and respectfully, try to anticipate danger and avoid escalating conflicts that arise. I appreciate the risks but they are outweighed by the benefits imo. Perhaps I would not feel the same if I lived where you live.

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Bruno Brito

I disagree. I think it’s because the memory of the deceased lives on, that we SHOULD have these debates. It’s honorable to fix the situation that may have put them in our memories. It means we cared enough about them.

I honestly despise this “the bodies are still warm” rhetoric. Either we fix the situation or we don’t. That’s my point. It’s because we CARE about said person, that we want a better world, to honor their former lives.

About the bikes, i’m not so sure. I live in Brazil. Armed robbery here is rampant, bikes can’t be traced, they’re easy to let go, they can fit into spaces that cars won’t, and nowadays, the psychopathy of people is so deep that they’ll murder you just to have your bike. Bikers in brazil are in deep fear because it’s who the bandits go for first.

I love my bike. But i can’t say the benefits outweight anything anymore. Specially when people drive like they drive, and the violence here is terrible.

Veldan
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Veldan

Honestly, every form of transportation is dangerous. People get killed in and by trains and buses too. And while many people could substitute some of their shorter car trips with bike rides, bikes aren’t a substitute for cars.

Tbh, nothing is a substitute for cars. That’s why I don’t really understand your comment. Change our ways to live better? How can we live better in this regard?

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Bruno Brito

Walk more. Use your heavy duty machinery less. That’s what i tell people.

Walking/Riding a bike is extremely healthy, both to you and the enviroment, no one should need to ride cars everywhere.

I won’t say it changes everything for the better, but the less stressed drivers we have in the streets, the less people have to suffer later.

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David ward

What? Cars are not mudermachines, idiot drives are murdermachines. I would hate life if we didn’t have them. I would never see my cottage, would be trapped in a crowded city miles from nature except for a few walking paths. Would never walk on a beach, would almost never see friends as most live miles away. Getting to work would require over an hour to get to by public transit, 2 plus by walking, not sure by bike while a car takes a bit over 10 minutes.

A reminder here, the driver, as far as I can tell, is not at fault! The poor girl is not at fault! She slipped on a patch of ice at the wrong moment and the driver couldn’t react in time.

If you want to blame someone talk to the salt truck drivers, and really that area of Vancouver Island is not known for heavy snowfalls and probably only has a small budget for salting/sanding after storms.

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Bruno Brito

I’m not blaming the driver in this particular case. But i think it IS a discussion that should happen.

I’m a bike driver (a normal one, not a motocycle ). I DEPEND on other’s patience and kindness to arrive safely on my home.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

Why are you asking this exactly? She slipped and fell over into the road as the semi was going by her, and while it’s tragic and horrible in every way, I don’t see how it’s the fault of the driver or machine?

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Bruno Brito

Not blaming the driver, using the moment as a opening discussion about it. Car accidents are something that kill too many people, everyday.

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Armsbend

Sad. Reminds me of when one of my favorite singers, Mary Hansen, died in similar fashion.