Kimmo Lahtinen’s grief game was a spectacular and somber way to start my day. It was one of the strongest entries in Meditations yet, and it is one that will stick with me through the rest of 2019. It was one of the most amazing depictions of grief that I have ever seen, and immediately created an emotional response in my brain when I realized what was occurring in the game.
It depicts Lahtinen sitting with his Grandmother, an event that is inspired by Lahtinen visiting his grandmother every Sunday and having a completely normal day with her. Nothing spectacular, just sitting down drinking juice and eating a bun as she would speak to his Grandmother about life and other topics. In the game, however, the walls are full of normal, yet special objects that slowly fade away. There are pictures, puzzles, and clocks that slowly turn gray and fade out of existence if you do not click them before they vanish.
Eventually the time it takes for each item to fade away decreases to the point where you are unable to click them fast enough. One by one, the special memories fade away, and then Lahtinen, his grandmother, and the room’s colors fade away and the game ends. It was a very sad experience to go through and quite accurately depicted the importance of small memories and how they fade away with time.
When remembering my grandmother, I generally think of the objects she used. Her deck of Yu-Gi-Oh cards, our game of Funglish, the issue of Ghost Rider she read with me when I found out that a word I had been reading was actually a cuss word, and the manga version of Maximum Ride that we would read together and talk about. All of these small items are things that I cherish, and are parts of the lives of many people. A lot of people read that Ghost Rider book and played Yu-Gi-Oh, but these things are so special to me.
I can’t think of any item that has faded from memory, but I can’t remember what occurred during our Yu-Gi-Oh matches, and can’t really remember what aspects of Maximum Ride that we talked about. I don’t think those memories will ever come back completely, and that is awful, but I love what I do remember. The emotions seeing the card St. Joan brings to me is incredible. It is amazing that such a thin piece of paper, or that seeing a Funglish game board, can bring back memories of seeing her smile and hearing her laugh.
Coping through the loss of a loved one is a very awful thing to go through, but the way our emotions are connected to various objects make it easier. It makes the bad memories, like the events that led to the loss of life, not have the ability to take over your mind and put you in a pit of sadness that you can’t escape from, because even though the person you love is gone, the memories, and objects within those memories, still exist.
Lahtinen’s game was powerful, sad, and hopeful. It has a lasting impact, makes you sad about what you have forgotten and the person you lost, but makes you hopeful that the connection you have with the items in your life with continue, and that some of your memories will last longer than others. It makes you happy that you remember the normal days even if you don’t remember huge events you had with your loved one. Lahtinen’s Meditations game was wonderful and will hopefully bring me to tears next year as well.