“But I don’t understand! I don’t understand how this all happens, how we go through this. I mean — I knew her, and then she’s… there’s just a body, and I don’t understand why she just can’t get back in it and not be dead anymore! It’s stupid! It’s mortal and stupid! And… and Xander’s crying and not talking, and… and I was having fruit punch, and I thought, ‘Well, Joyce will never have any more fruit punch — ever, and she’ll never have eggs, or yawn, or brush her hair, not ever,’ and no one will explain to me why.”
–Anya Emerson, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Episode 5.16, “The Body”)
It’s a weird feeling when someone you know and talk to on a regular basis passes away. It’s like a giant mental disconnect — this weird, surreal blot that your mind can’t fully process. A hole in the world.
It’s even weirder when the person in question dies a tragically young death, as was the case with Rannie Yoo, who passed away last weekend at the age of 33, after an 11-month battle with cancer. I knew Rannie through Triple Point (previously Kohnke Communications), the San Francisco-based gaming PR firm where she worked. Her funeral was today (well, I guess technically yesterday, at this point), and — between her friends, family, and gaming industry buddies — the room overflowed to the point where the crowd spilled out the door and into the hallway. For nearly two hours, a great many of these people took turns coming to the front of the room and relating stories and memories about Rannie, and how she’d touched their lives.
This girl was loved. A lot.
Rannie was one of the first (if not the first) PR professionals I ever met, simply by virtue of the fact that she visited the Ziff Davis office (which is just down the street from the Kohnke Communications office) a lot. While most PR types tended to drop by on business, Rannie often showed up just to say hello and see how everyone was doing. That’s just the kind of person she was — if you crossed paths with her, you basically had a friend for life.
That said, I did not know Rannie nearly as well as I wish I did; as a professional rule, I rarely fraternize with people on the PR side, as it’s more-or-less their job to be your friend, and it’s not always easy to tell who’s putting on a show and who isn’t. Rannie was the genuine article, and I say that in all sincerity. I wish I could think of some sweet or funny stories to tell about Rannie, like many of the people I listened to at the memorial service, but I am at a loss (the one memory that jumps to mind: Rannie was nice enough to hang out with me for basically the entirety of the one day I spent at San Diego Comic-Con in 2004, even when I was pretty much a total newbie at all this stuff). All I can really say is, we’ve lost a very nice person who didn’t deserve this tragic fate in the least.
The world is a depressing place sometimes; may we all have the will to live life (and to face death) with the sunny disposition that Rannie maintained to the end.