By Alura Messing
Death. We can't escape it in our first lives or our second. If you have been in any type of gaming community, you know how close an emotional bond you can build with people. You talk to them almost everyday. You hear about their families, their problems, and their successes. You often know them better than most of their families do. But once in awhile, you log in to get the news that something terrible has happened. One of your friends has passed away.
In my years of gaming it has happened more than once. One was very ill and just never came back. I can only assume that they passed on and their family didn't know how, or felt no need to tell their gaming friends. One was very young and died suddenly in a house fire with his mother. I was lucky a real life friend was able to pass on the sad news. Which brings me to my current gaming experience in Second Life.
I am part of a family here. We all live on the same land and see each-other daily. We go shopping together, attend special events the someone is in, and just talk about life. I logged in the other day, to find out that one of my family had passed away. Even as I write, we are still waiting to learn the cause. He was young and no one saw this coming. We were all devastated and needed to find a way to mourn.
I believe many people in Second Life are faced with this. They don't know what to do, or how to honor the memory of someone they cared for. For many years, the Lindens themselves hosted a memorial garden that you could go to and have the name of a resident who passed away added to. Sadly in July of 2011 they stopped accepting names to add to the memorial, though you can still visit and see existing memorials.
Residents now have to devise their own ways to memorialize their friends. We can't rely on the Lindens to have a common in world place as a memorial. Over the years I have see many ways that people have attempted to find their peace and remember the light and life of a lost soul. In my early days I happened on a small shrine on the main grid. It gave me a texture when I clicked it and lit a candle for a time. On that texture, was the following poem.
An Uncertain Memorial
By: Calliandris Pendragon
Beyond time and space
I met a fellow traveller
And we journeyed for awhile.
Then, I lost sight of them.
I cannot tell where they have gone,
Wether they vanished back
Into the throng of life,
Or slipped across the threshold
Into another world,
Turning from time, to eternity.
All I can say with certainty
Is that there is a place in my heart
Into which that other fits
Which is empty now.
A beautiful expression of coming to terms with the loss of someone close.
We don't always know how to express what is inside and some people simply place a picture in their profile with a few words about the person. Others, like Noel (Ixinoel) have building skills and build something in world to spread the memory of their lost friend. Noel owner of Dust Bunny, built a Memorial Garden with her friend Amy's (Scarlet Chandrayaan) favorite things. She gives it out for free to anyone who comes to her store. In doing that, her memory is shared by many who display the item in their personal space.
But if you and others would like to gather someplace and take time to remember them in a more "Earthly" way, there is Living Memories Memorial Garden. There you can dedicate a tree to your missing loved ones. There is no cost to do so, but donations are welcomed to help cover the cost of the land. It is a beautiful location that you can visit and and hold a memorial service on your own or with others.
We may not be able to just ignore the grief of losing someone in Second Life, but as you can see there are many ways to honor a memory. Be sure to take a moment to visit the memorials to remember someone you might have lost here or to pay respects to the others who have come and gone that you may not know. We each contribute to this wonderful verse and when even one of us passes away it is a loss to the community. Safe and healthy paths to each of you.
Shrine of Remembrance, Linden Memorial Park (146, 88, 7)
Living Memories Memorial Garden, The Sardar (6, 101, 21)Dust Bunny New Mainstore!, Dust Bunny (118, 200, 16)