Archive - May 27, 2008

The Sojourner

For the past few days, I’ve been offline, camping with my family. Before that, I was at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference for several days, and before that I had various software programs to write, websites to build, and a trip to Virginia to bring my daughters home from college. So, last night, I sat down to an email box with over 2500 unread emails and 3500 spam emails.

I deleted the spam with only a minimal glance to make sure nothing fell into the spam box by mistake. I scanned the unread emails and found around 500 that I moved off into folders which I might read someday if I ever have time. For all practical purposes, I’ve deleted them. Then I glanced through the remaining emails to see if there were any of particular importance. If I’ve missed yours, I apologize, please be patient.

The one email that particularly caught me attention was simply titled, “The Sojourner”. Soj, as she was called, has been a key part of the fabric of Second Life for nearly four years. She was part of Brigadoon, an early support community in Second Life. The first time that I recall meeting her was last February as she worked on bringing together support groups in a health care coalition.

In subsequent meetings, she spoke about her own struggles recovering from three different strokes. She spoke about how important Second Life was as a community for stroke victims. As I opened the email, I wondered what great new adventure Soj was setting off on now.

The answer struck me with grief. From the The Tribute to The Sojourner, A True Second Life Heroine, 8/18/2004-5/25/2008, I learned of her passing.

I immediately logged into Second Life and went to the memorial that has been built for her there. Along the pathway, there are all kinds of monuments to her work. At the center is a large area covered with candles. There are so many, so close together that the effect is overwhelming. It takes a special effort to read the candles.

Candles for The Sojourner, originally uploaded by Aldon.

I wandered around reading the inscriptions floating above one candle after another. People talked, should we move the candles and spread them out? Yet it was felt that it was more appropriate that the effect be overwhelming. The contributions that Soj has made to Second Life and to so many people here was overwhelming, as is the grief of so many people that loved her deeply.

I took a picture of the candles in a special way that captured to chaos of the text. I wandered from candle to candle copying down the texts. I saved much of it on the Wiki and others have checked candles and added additional texts.

I only knew Soj for a very short time and the words that I can share pale in comparison. There are many great tributes to Soj and a couple jump out at me.

From your first day in SL when we met
You had a Dream
I am glad i could help you get it started
so long ago in a place called Brigadoon
You will be missed here.
-- Coos Yellowknife

One Short Sleepe past, we wake eternally,
and death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
-- John Donne.

Soj, you got your second set of wings! Godspeed.

Rest In Peace, The Sojourner