"Paradox Olbers, former ISM President, passed away on 13 November, 2019."
Kat Lemieux, founder and current president of the International Spaceflight Museum, sent me an IM today to tell me the news and to ask if I had made a Morphing Portrait for Para and if I wanted to create a memorial for him.
I saw her message as a notification from GMail as I was getting ready to leave work in the evening. I cried in the dark night as I walked to my car. And I don't know why.
I didn't have a close friendship with Para, but I worked closely with him when we were both active in the museum. It was a distant but warm professional friendship. When he took over the ISM, I was amazed at how he was able to keep it afloat financially, using his connections with donors and supporters.
But grief is a selfish emotion, and I knew that my tears were more for me than for him, although I am terribly sad that he is gone.
My last two years have been very difficult, particularly this past summer. In July, I had a cancerous tumor removed from my left kidney and that has not yet healed completely. In August, my mom passed away.
In the past few weeks, I've been missing Second Life. Not SL specifically, but the quietness and peacefulness that I have felt in the first few years of my virtual life. The wonder, the curiosity, the creativity. The innocence.
This week, I set up a trust and I'm still writing a pour-over will. In the process, I'm jotting down instructions for my successor trustee and executor. And the to-do list grows. I have a long list just to handle Opal's and Treasure's affairs. That task started my trek back into the past. And maybe that's why the tears came easily.
Paradox is one of the first few people I met in Second Life. His passing makes me feel like the past that I've been missing is slowly fading away piece by piece, because he was a part of that time in my life.
Many friends from that time have left SL too. No matter how often I log back into SL, I can't go back to that time. I can't step in the same river twice.
UPDATE 2019 Nov 30: Memorial created.