This one is a bit…different.

I have never written a journal entry this personal before, and I don’t know if I ever will again.

This is a subject that I have given a lot of thought to, and I mean a lot. It’s taken almost a year for me to properly articulate my thoughts, to really express what I want to say.

I am not a person for whom this kind of thing comes either easily or naturally; this took effort.

But, I’ll get right to the point. These words were chosen with great care. Because I really want to get this right.

I was hugely affected by the death of Monty Oum. I have never been hit so hard by the death of someone I didn’t know personally.

When I saw Burnie’s journal entry, where Monty’s hospitalization was revealed, my very first thought, God help me, was that there was no possible way this could be happening. It couldn’t be real. It just could not.

When the surrealism wore off and reality sunk in, I was, like everyone else, shocked and confused. I spent the next few days hoping for the best, but in my heart I knew the worst had already happened.

I found out about Monty’s death through Caiti Ward’s journal. As soon as I saw the title, “Take A Moment”, all the energy just when out of me like a balloon deflating.

I didn’t cry, but I did spend that entire day in a numb, bleak daze. I could barely function. My only blessing that day was that I didn’t have anywhere to go. The area where I lived was slammed by a huge snow system, and my city was shut down. I could just stay in one place and try to deal with this devastating news.

But being trapped alone in my home while reeling from this tragedy was a very weird experience. It felt like a dream. One I couldn’t wake up from.

The only other really clear memory I have of that day is trying to go for a walk in the storm. I remember the cold wind whipping my face, lashing it red and raw, and the big, fat snowflakes that stuck in my hair and my beard. And I barely felt any of it.

About a year earlier, I had been hit with the deaths of two people I deeply cared about. One was an uncle I was close to, the other was a neighbour I liked. I tried to learn from this to not take people for granted. That just because someone is there one day, is no guarantee that they will be there the next. Obviously, the lesson didn’t stick.

I was saddened by their passing, but I wasn’t surprised. My uncle and my neighbour were not young, and both had been sick for a long time. Monty’s death hit me in a totally different way. I think I have some understanding of how a fan of the Beatles must have felt after the death of John Lennon.

Monty Oum was a man who seemed like he could do absolutely anything. His creative spark, dedication to his craft, his endless energy and his ambition were a huge inspiration to me.If there is some kind of creative unconscious that runs through the universe, then Monty was certainly channeling it.

And then, suddenly, he was gone. The idea that someone so extraordinary, someone I respected so much, could just not be there anymore. That did more that hurt me. It scared me profoundly. Even now, they are days when I feel that strange sense of unreality. When I still feel like I’m in the dream.

There are people who, in times of sorrow, turn to spiritual comfort. I am sorry to say that I am not one of them. I do not believe in an afterlife. This adds an extra twinge of sorrow to every death. Because I know in my heart that I will never see any of the people I care about again.

What I do take solace from is the idea that the people we have lost live on through us. They live on in our memories of them, and they live through the works they leave behind. And Monty has left behind a very impressive legacy.

So to the cast and crew of RWBY, to the writers, the animators, and the actors, and also to all the talented artists of this community: I know I don’t just speak for myself when I say thank you for keeping Monty’s vision going.

And to the loved ones that Monty has left behind, his friends, his family, everyone who knew him: “sorry” by itself doesn’t feel like enough, but I am. I am so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine what you’ve gone through, and I think I would do it injustice if I even tried. Once again, I don’t speak only for myself when I say that I miss him, too.

That’s all I have. I hope I wasn’t too incoherent. Goodbye for now.