North_Ranger

Maybe we can take a vote or something, but you know what? As long as Mathias knows when to back off and/or apologize for potentially volatile future behaviours, I'm okay with him coming back. If anything Ranger taught us, it was that this community is so very different from others. We're open, accepting, and most of all, forgiving.
 
Alright. I never thought in a million years I would care this much. I said what I said earlier, but while mowing the lawn today (yes, I'm aware it's November 29th), this song popped on my iPod:


And it hit me.

I thought it appropriate to share that, yes, I thought of Mikko. This song is for you. I'm truly sorry for everything that transpired between us, my friend. I will miss you, and I regret not telling you this sooner.


Just to clear the air, I'd like to formally apologize to any and all members of the community that I've slighted in the past. The ones that I think I hit hardest before my ban last year (that come to mind at least) are Nick and LittleSin. I doubt I'll hang around here as much as I used to (or if Dave's going to reenact the ban anytime soon), but for what it's worth, well, there it is.
For what it is worth, and I don't mean to bring up the ban debate (especially here) again, but I never thought of you as a bad guy; maybe you disturbed shit when you should've sat back, but who among us, stones, etc, etc.

To my mind you were and are part of the community - I'm glad you stopped by to extend your condolences and share your history -with Mikko and us- and your feelings on the sombre subject at hand.
 
Like a few others, I didn't much interact with North_Ranger particularly that I can recall, but I did always enjoy reading his responses to threads and I will greatly miss not seeing them around. And it did swell me with a sense of community pride when I saw that he had included my sad penguin in one of his avatar drawings.

I remember once I had mentioned there was a professor at my old college who I thought looked like a doppelganger of North_Ranger, and he requested I get a picture for comparison and I never did post one. It's suddenly bothering me that I never fulfilled this simple request. I tracked down the guy's facebook profile and pulled this from it, I'm sorry it's so late.


Rest in peace, North_Ranger.
 
In my immediate grief, after hearing the news about Mikko, I emailed a friend of mine. He's a friend of the family's, an 86-year-young Brother in the Catholic Church, with whom I've spent many hours learning, debating (I lean to the atheistic side of things, so we chat about the meaning of life, existence of God... easy things, you know, etc), and just sharing coffee and stories about life. He's a wonderfully intelligent and kind friend, who always makes time for me, despite his schedule, age, and health. At all events, I emailed him this (spoilers for length only, nothing inappropriate):
Hello,
A friend of mine who lives in Finland passed away today, a few hours ago.
Why is this like this? He was happy, he enjoyed living, had fun. He was a teacher, he helped people. He gets cancer, he gets a viral infection, he dies young...
I hate life. I'm miserable. I see emptiness and meaninglessness, I think it's all pointless suffering... but I don't die, I don't get seriously ill.
Why not? Why him, who would have enjoyed continuing to live?
And now what? If I'm right, then he's ... There's nothing left. Oblivion, whatever, he ceases to be. No more pain. In a perverse way I envy that.
And if I'm wrong. There's heaven and hell. If he's not Christian, and Paul goes on about Faith alone, and Jesus says, "and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him," so, what, what? Hell? Hell for him, and eventually hell for me. Wrath of God.
Why is this like this? What is the point?
I realise this seems heavy, dramatic maybe, but these things weighed on me (perhaps even selfishly) in the wake of the bad news. I received his response, and I wish to share it, with his permission:
Dear Leigh,
Sorry for the delay. The reasons are partly medical and partly the struggle I had and sill have how to respond in a way that makes sense and being honest to you and to myself.
I grieve with you over the loss of a friend who had a lot to give and apparently did give. Also the perpetual question: Why him and not me? With the related question: i would have done it differently.
I can speculate forever but it will never be clear of things would be better if my way would have been better. There are umpteen aspects of what happened to your friend and why that will be forever a closed book. And I am convinced that, whatever he believed and whoever he believed in will have been sorted out in his favor. My God is not a bookkeeper or a bean counter. My God has created people to be happy , now and forever, and when it turned out that that in the given circumstances for this person was not possible he solved it by making him happy somewhere else. Oh, I hear the judgments all around: he did not believe we do; he did not acted we expected him to act with his talents, if he he had done this or that it would have turned out differently, etc. Human reasoning. And in your case, a personal friend, who had so much to give, dies unexpectedly, painfully. Was that necessary. I would have done it differently.
I trust that what happened to your friend was the best for him. I even trust that, no matter what all the judges say, that since God has created him to be happy he is happy and sine there so many things I do not know all other considerations and emotions have to be set aside.
Of course I prayed the good God to give me understanding of the why (which I did not get) and for your friend and for you, which I hope is operating, may be slow and without us knowing it (yet). But I will never put the goodness of God on the back burner. Whether I know it or not I am convinced that your friend wants you to be happy and that maybe in due time we will understand some of the why's. In the meantime let us not spoil his happiness by asking questions for which there are at resent no answers and spoil the good memories we have of him. He would want us to use the talents we have to be productive and not waste our time in fruitless speculations.
This my, frien, is the best I can do at the moment. take care
 

Dave

Staff member
Now that Iowa has kicked Nebraska's ass and I'm back online instead of on my iPod checking in, I'm going to elaborate and say a bit more than I had.

When I asked Mikko to be a mod I did so for a number of reasons. First, he was usually active during a time zone when the rest of us were snug in our beds. But most of all, because I didn't know of anyone who disliked the guy. Mikko was respected by nearly everyone I'd spoken to and that's huge in moderating. Let some of the rest of us be the assholes. Yes, he had his blind spots, just as I do and the rest of us do, but barring these, he was rock steady. And then the diagnosis.

He was still a mod, but that took a back seat to everything else. I didn't prod or push, I just let him do whatever level he felt he had to. He didn't do much in the way of modding then, but he was always there, always positive in the face of such massive uncertainty. Always ready to laugh, whether that laughter was at himself, at the situation he found himself in, or even at the ridiculous ways that cancer takes a giant of a man and reduces him to looking into the face of his own mortality. Mikko was a hell of a guy and I'm so very, very glad that we got to show him in a very positive and literal way before he got too sick to enjoy it. In 2011, when a little idea to help him raise his spirits went from one or two people to almost 30, we got to show him and his family just how much he meant to us. I'm thankful every day of the Christmasing and I'll close out the chapter of Mikko with his response to the gifts he received.

North_Ranger said:
Hello again, guys and gals! And Merry Christmas, Krazy Kwanzaa, Harmonious Hanukkah and Brain-Splattering Qw'ghh'ia'fhugdhh to you all!

Seriously, I'm still at awe about all this. No one's ever done anything even remotely like this to me, and I can't help but smile a little, knowing you all cared so much about my strange, pantsless, non-sequitur-spouting ass to send me a gift that was so thoughtful. Seriously, with all the things going on and some of the 'friends' whose reaction to my current predicament left a sour taste in my mouth... it's more than a little heart-warming to know that even a socially awkward hermit like myself has so many people rooting for me across this big ol' world of ours. You rock, ladies and gents. Ozzy should write a rock ballad for each and every one of you.

I'm not the only one who's impressed, BTW. My mom, bless her heart, has always been more than a little suspicious of you folks over the Internet. When Baerdog came over for a few days this year, she was more than a little worried, you know, over me letting a "stranger" into my home. She told me that when she understood what the Xbox was for and who it was from, she started crying. Openly. She was so overwhelmed with emotion. She even says she's grown less suspicious of the 'net because of you guys. So thank you for making my mom more susceptible to Nigerian princes wanting to send $30 million out of the country, folks :p
And now I'll address Mathias. When I found out about Mikko I removed the ban and let Mathias know what had happened. He'd known Mikko for years just as we all had, and even though their last interactions weren't always positive, that wasn't always the case. And let's face it, I think we all know now that we're kind of like a family here. There are damned few of you I wouldn't let into my house and those I wouldn't are spammers. But sometimes families fight. And this family also forgives. Let me say right now that the banning was not all Mathias's fault. Some of it was Mikko. They were like brothers who sometimes just couldn't let it go.

So the ban is lifted. I'm letting Mathias come back because I truly believe Mikko would want me to be forgiving. I've lost one friend to cancer and I damned well don't ant to lose another through stupid pride. I know a couple might have issues with this and to you I say, "Please. Let's give forgiveness a chance."
 
I think... in the summer of 2018, I'll go sit in Svarte Rudolf, and order one pint for myself, and another one "for a friend who is running a bit late".
 
You are missed NR. I'm sorry that life was far shorter than you deserved. I like to think that you left this world with a joke and a grin.
 
I'm assuming that @Gilgamesh has shared this with Shego. I don't expect her to post or anything, but it's nice to know if she is aware.
I have been trying to contact her honestly, but we haven't spoken in a very long time due to her current situation. I've lamented this a few times in the rant threads sadly. I did send her an email and voice mail on this subject though as I know that she and NR were close for a long time.

As for the Ranger himself, what could I possibly say that hasn't been said already. As another of the people who personally didn't know him very well, I also have to admit that I sat in my chair and cried when I heard the news and read this thread. I really hope he understands that he didn't just have friends, he had them all over the world. Closer than most physical friends at that. I can only hope that I can impact a fraction of the people he did. A man that will always be remembered by me everytime I see a sauna, that's for sure.
 

fade

Staff member
Stupid allergies. Eyes seem to be watering or something.

The outpouring in this thread is the measure of the man. Much love, Mikko.
 
What a shame to lose someone like this. I haven't been the most active member for the past few years but from what I can remember NR brought a lot to this board and was one of the great personalities that defined this place.
 

Dave

Staff member
Just got an email from Mikko's dad.

Dear David and all people in Halforums,

Thank you very much messages in forum sharing our sorrow.
We are reading these with my wife, Mikko's mother, really touched us to tears.
We have not been fully understand the sense and power of your community as Mikko's "family". Now we understand that and also the process of his illness with you - as a therapy and spirit.

Mikko's funeral will be held on Saturday 21. December at 12:30 Finnish time.
That day is also winter solstice. The Meaning of day was important to Mikko.

We have three wishes to you:

1) we hope yours obituary of Mikko. You or someone who have been familiar with him and his activity on forum during last years - during over ten years, will write it. We will present it after funeral - remenberance.

We would be happy, if we may get from your forum:

2) putting together - collection of moved messages in Hall of Flame ,
Thread of Mikko's messages how his cancer - going on
Important to us how he processed that with you.

3) after you informed other Halforumites - there is lot of participaiting messages - those we have readed.
May you collect those into document file for us.


How you want us to present Halforum's condolences during Mikko's funeral.
We shall be very glad to present it.

Yours

Leila and Timo Metsälä
First, does anyone want to volunteer to write the obituary? I think @stienman knew him better than anyone (I said I think - if this is wrong I apologize).

Second, I'm going to gather as many of the quotes/texts/everything into 1 big thread. This thread will be from the diagnosis to the bitter end. This thread will NOT be open for comments, but we can post additional stuff in here if it needs to be added. Once we are satisfied about this, I will find a way to get everything into a file that his parents can use. Not sure how to do this yet. I may end up going into the database, exporting to Excel and then porting THAT into Word. Convoluted, but it works. Or at least it should.
 
I was not particularly close to Mikko. He contacted me near the end because he needed information he knew I would have.

I'm sure there are others here who had a much stronger relationship with him.

December 21st is enough time to send someone to represent the forum in person if desired. Something to consider, anyway.
 

Espy

Staff member
OH geeze that emails from his parents just made me feel wrecked again. Ugh. This just sucks.
 

Dave

Staff member
I'll probably write it, then. Also, I'm going to call Mikko's dad in the next couple of days and see if he'd rather have someone there to represent us or if he'd like us to send him the Memorial $$. My best friend is Finnish and his mother is going to hopefully be the translator. Which will be interesting considering she's in Hawaii which is exactly 12 hours behind Finland! So it'll be in the evening there, the morning in Finland and holy shit Dave time (like 0 dark 30 kind of thing).
 
God damnit.

Every time I'd decide to come back, seeing he was still posting made me feel happy. It just wouldn't be Halforums without Mikko. I probably could have shown that appreciation in a better way than repeatedly picking at him.

He was one of the more genuine people I've come across. I'm a little surprised how hard this is hitting me.

God fucking damnit.
 
N_R will be missed. I have never been close to him or really anybody else here. But he was such a decent man. I was really saddened by most of his posts in his thread because I could tell that he did not have much of a chance because how aggressive his tumors were. He is the reason that for the last couple of years that I described what I went through as "cancer tourism," because I never really felt ill. And that I was never in much danger.
 

Dave

Staff member
Also, in update to the North_Ranger Memorial fund, @stienman and I have been talking and we think that we have a solution.

For the last however many years, Mikko's parents have been taking care of him. As too many of you know, taking care of a cancer patient is a very, very trying experience as you get to watch a loved one torn down from the inside out. Your whole world becomes one trial after another as that person fights an enemy that can't be seen. Their own lives have been put on hold.

Stienman and I both think it would be a good idea to give the money to Mikko's parents to use for a holiday somewhere. They can get away from the home that will have nothing but reminders and reconnect as a couple. Right now they are going through the hardest thing they ever will (I hope) and if they can just take even a weekend away it might help their stress and sanity levels.

Sending someone to the funeral - while a grand gesture - would be uncomfortable on many levels. First, there's a language barrier that for most of us would be insurmountable. Secondly, these are nice people. If someone visits, they'd feel obligated to entertain or pay attention to this stranger during a time when they should be focusing on their family and funeral plans.

Right now we have a eulogy, written by @Enresshou. It reads:

The internet is a wonderful thing, and one of its greatest wonders--at least to our little online group--is that it brought Mikko, a man who lived half a world away, into our lives. He part of our digital family from the beginning and, as it grew, he became something more: our heart and our conscience. He was thoughtful. He was patient. He was kind. He was the best of us, and it is a sad, sad joke that he is the first to go.

But he will be remembered; for his good will, for his smile and heart, for his quiet strength. Above all, he will be remembered for the lives he has touched and the good he has wrought. He taught so many of us the concept of a community and to measure our words in kindness and understanding. He lived with laughter, whether at himself or with others, and in so doing helped some of us mend ourselves in difficult times. And, while he was a giant of a man, nobody was ever beneath him--he loved, and was loved by, everyone he spoke to.
I'd like to add some personalized messages that have the region of the speaker, and I'd like it to be as varying as possible. Like "Dave from Omaha, Nebraska in the US said..." and this would show everyone there how he touched a lot of lives not just in his area but around the world.

Thoughts or suggestions for edits on the eulogy are welcomed.
 

Dave

Staff member
The eulogy is beautiful. If we have a personalized message, should we pm you, @Dave?
Please post them here. I know his parents or siblings are using his account to poke around and read what we are writing about Mikko. Let them see them all, even if I don't put it in the final message.
 
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