A couple of days ago I learned that the typist behind the SL avatar known as Mabb Dilweg had passed away suddenly. This news hit me far harder than I ever imagined it could.
I’ve known people from SL who passed away before, but for some reason this one really hit home. It most certainly can be credited to Mabb’s bigger than life personality, her compassion, her charm, her warmth, the way she could bring joy to any situation, her infectious laughter but in truth I think it was the story of her and her partner Shane Fairlock that really made this an additional tragedy for me.
Only a couple of weeks ago Mabb shared this with us:
The other night, Shane and I were being all gooey and lovey-dovey because our anniversary was coming up, and well, we were being geeky-lovey-dovey and saying thank you to Tesla, and Turing, and Bill Gates and of course, Al Gore who invented the internet because well, otherwise we’d never have met!
Then it struck me. Seriously. The ONLY person to thank is Philip. If Philip hadn’t dreamed up SL, convinced people to fund it and used connections and whatever to get it hyped up all over the press, we’d never have known about SL… and well, the amazing, serendipitous set of circumstances that led to my friend throwing a 3-day old n00b at me while I was DJing three years ago today, would never have happened.
So. Thank you Philip. You made it possible for me to meet the most wonderful man I have ever known.
-Mabb Dilweg 02-22-2013
It was Shane who shared the news of her passing with us, he had been on Skype with her when it happened. I’m tearing up even writing that. My heart is breaking for him.
This really brought home to me that the feelings and bonds we form shouldn’t be diminished or limited because they are “online”. In this case, and many others, the venue isn’t a limiting factor, the distance however is. Not only for those who are in those relationships, but for those of us who wish to lend our support during these times.
I felt helpless and useless while talking with Shane that night. There are no words to comfort someone at a time like that, in any world, but at least in person I would be able to hug, or hold hands, or cook, or make phone calls for him, or … well something, anything.
Out of the blue he said to me “Panks, can you do me one favor”. Of course my answer was an immediate “Anything”. Then he asked me to go photograph their home in SL. He didn’t feel that he could return there, that it would be too hard, but he asked if I could take pictures so that later he could remember and celebrate how they lived, how they loved.
It was the least I could do, but it was something, so I did my best to capture it all for him. In looking at the pictures I feel it isn’t enough, worry that I missed something. When we look at our own homes in SL each little thing has a memory. The significance of a picture on the wall, the times we sat on a certain piece of furniture, the reason behind displaying a certain accessory.
I have my own memories of Mabb, the way we first connected over our shared love of Melody Gardot. It had become a bit of a thing between us, we’d sometimes make a nod to Melody knowing only the other would get it. One of her last posts on a forum we both belong to was in fact exactly that. She recently got a new computer and was really enjoying taking pictures and sharing them.
And I ADORE this dress… hopefully the angles show off the fact that it has a sweet transparent layer
Also – for Pancake – rockin’ my Melody Gardot look
-Mabb Dilweg 03-03-2013
Over the last few days I’ve seen a community come together to share it’s memories of Mabb, in support of Shane and her friends and family and it warms my heart. I know she’d be pleased, that if circumstances were any different she’d be the first one there with hugs. I’ve also noticed many who didn’t know her personally feel the weight of this loss. For some, that’s an uncomfortable feeling, as if they are intruding or somehow shouldn’t be grieving. I can relate to that feeling, it’s one I’ve had a twinge over the last few days. There are so many who knew Mabb better or for longer than I did, who know her offline or outside of SL, who am I to be this upset? I remind myself though that it’s not about who is more entitled to be hurting, it’s yet again a testament to the type of woman she was that her loss is felt amongst so many across the world. If I have learned one thing about pain or loss over the years, it’s that pain is a burden that is lighter when shared with many hands.
Shane, reluctantly and with more than a few prods, has agreed to accept assistance during this time. He made this request
i want to go to australia to say my goodbyes with our dear friend Mayden, who is like a sister to us. i want to be able to sit on the grass where she lay and feel the world she lived in, touch the things she touched and hug the ones we love. play with her grandsons who adored her and excitedly talked to me on skype when they visited, hug the wonderful women who she brought into this world and their families who loved her so much. kiss the hand of the mother who brought brought mabb into this world and thank her for my chance to experience one of the worlds most precious gems. for mayden to be able to share in those moments with me, that we may support one another in a hard time where not many would or could understand the intense love that people can have over so great a distance. our love was like a story book story. and to her request for me to carry on i want to in person say “as you wish”
-Shane Fairlock 03/08/2013
Fundraising has begun to help Shane with travel expenses so that he can say his goodbyes in person. You can get his paypal information in the thread linked above.
There is also a yardsale here http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Apocalips%20Shinano/139/100/23 where you can put items out for sale or shop with 100% of proceeds going to this cause.
You can also contribute directly to the SL avatar banking account set up for this https://my.secondlife.com/shibari
UPDATE – SHANE HAS ALSO SET UP AN INDIEGOGO DONATION CAMPAIGN. YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE HERE
For someone who apparently has the gift of the gab, who loves to talk more than just about anything in the world, I’m finding I’m at a loss for words here. I type and I type and I type, but it’s still not right, and no where close to enough.
My heartfelt condolences go out to Shane, Mabb’s family, daughters, grandchildren and all her friends around the world.
Mabb, you are already so very missed.