When someone we know dies, all too often we learn too late how much more rich and varied the person’s life was than we ever knew, that there was a whole part of that person’s life that we never saw, and good friends we never met. It’s even more true in a virtual world, where few of us knows anything about the reality of physical life even for the people behind the avatars we know well.
I was reminded of it again today at the memorial service in Second Life’s Virtual Ability sims for Ladyslipper Constantine, who many of us knew simply as “LS”. I knew her in Burn 2, Burning Man in Second Life, where LS and I were Lamplighters and Rangers, and where she was leader of the Fire Dancers. She was someone who everyone respected and liked, someone who was always patient and friendly.
LS’s activities in Second Life went far beyond Burn 2. She was also active in Virtual Ability , Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education , One Billion Rising, and Second Life birthday celebrations. One of her other activities was performing in the drumming group DRUM, who performed at the memorial with an empty drum in the front to honor he.
In recent months, I knew that LS was not well, but I did not know how ill she was. This is one of the frustrating aspects of virtual worlds. There’s no way of knowing when the humans behind our avatar friends are suffering. It came as a sad shock when I learned recently that LS had died of cancer.
I will miss LS. Judging by what I saw and heard at today’s memorial, many others will miss her at least as much as I will. She touched the lives of many.