This is a serious blog entry, as you can't get much more serious than death. A couple of hours ago I heard that someone who I admired and liked greatly in Second Life died last night. I knew her mostly as Bluewave Ogee: in the physical world she was Professor Leslie Jarmon.
When I saw the subject line on the SLED discussion list I was first disbelieving, and then stunned. She was one of the co-founders of the Educators Coop, and after I got to know her co-founder, North Lamar, I was invited in, even though I wasn't renting Coop land. It has been wonderful being part of the Coop, a group of people to chat with, learn from and share frustrations with. Bluewave was always helpful, always encouraging, a real leader and mentor. People say a lot things about people being loved and inspirational in obituaries (which I suppose is what I am writing) but Bluewave was those things.
I suppose I will be getting increasing numbers of cold shocks from electronic messages beamed out to discussion lists or twitter - deaths of real friends, but who are not so close that I would be someone who was told before all the others who will be mourning too. There is a memorial set up on the University of Texas sim at http://slurl.com/secondlife/UT%20Austin%207/118/86/29 with pictures of her in both lives and a box to post notecards with tributes and memories. I teleported in and left a notecard and exchanged words with people there, but there wasn't anyone I knew.
Then I saw that North had come inworld, and when I checked on the map there was someone on the newest Educators Coop island, so I teleported over and he was there at a memorial that Rx has made. Bluewave was North's advisor for his PhD, and he had been with her shortly before she died. I learnt a bit more about her family, and her illness, but mostly it was good to be in the Coop, with North, who I think must have introduced us, and who must feel her loss greatly. While we were standing there, North sent out a message to the Coop group, and so gradually a few others arrived.
The second picture shows us there: we are adding flowers around the pool and North put up a word bubble that a friend of Bluewave's had made.
North said that she had sent a message for the Educators Coop members "tell them it's been REAL". It is real, and that means the loss is real too. Going back to find a decent picture of Bluewave I remember the many Coop meetings, the visits, Coop projects ... it seems impossible that she won't still be part of that. She had just had an amazing success: Texas had bought 50 islands, to invest significantly in SL as an environment for learning, and her leadership had managed that: so it will be a loss for SL education too. However what I will miss most is the chat, the IMs to "Dear Sheila!"
Don't think I'll be putting any jokey tags on this entry.