Caitlin wrote several letters before she passed. Obituaries for herself, I suppose. I knew of one, but her iCloud account was deep with them. One was for her friends and family in Second Life. Here it is.
CC Columbo, Real Life and Second Life brother.
An October weekend filled with Guinness and Jameson’s led to my birth in Galway, Ireland nine months later on June 16, 1988, or so I’m told. My father was on assignment there for the US Navy when he met (and presumably, had sex with) my birth mother. As things go, he didn’t know that until she travelled to America to present him with me and an ultimatum: Take the girl child as a baby cramped her style. His wife was less than thrilled, but the literal red-headed step-child was brought into the home.
Most people, including me, did not know I wasn’t her child as we both had carrot-red hair, freckles, and a fierce attitude. When my father died I was nearly 10 years old and she told me of my bastardy and her youngest son that I was his to raise. Spoiler alert: We later reconciled and I was her care giver for the last 12 years of her life. But not being able to see that future led me to do stupid things and also to the first time I died.
Some of you know the long story, but what’s important is that this brother saved my life, though at the cost of me being able to speak and an inability to cope with a number of instantly blooming phobias. He damaged his teaching career by moving up in grade each year so I was always in his classroom at least once a day to be my safety net. He was my knight in shining armor, keeping me safe and loved.
In my Senior year, my shrink introduced me to Second Life. My fear of people, especially men, and a fear of leaving the house needed to be fixed. She felt that I could socialize virtually, picking up some personal and life skills. The Teen Grid also let me work out …. let’s just say there’s a reason I fled on my 18th birthday and started a fresh account on the Main Grid. CC Columbo, my Real Life brother who raised me and joined SL the month before, met me at Waterhead and took me to his land in Nangrim. There he gave me $L100, 16 square meters of land to call my own, and then took me to the Isle of Lesbos. The rest, as the trite say, is history.
At Lesbos I met my soon-to-be sister, Threshin. She helped me become a strong (if willful) and confident woman over the subsequent years. Always encouraging and loving, I learned that I didn’t need to cling to my brother. I also met my wife, Angela, there. Marriages in SL are real, if you let them be so.
I’m also proud to say I was a citizen of Bay City, the BEST community in Second Life. So many close friends, especially Marianne, Pygar, Rachel, Roc, and the eternal Ever Dreamscape. This was truly the life I did not have growing up. And grow up I did. The strength I gained from being accepted into the city and becoming a contributor (the year I was Miss Bay City was the best year in any of my lives) led to me becoming a productive citizen in Real Life. Getting a job, paying taxes, and becoming responsible for others. Just like a real person!
It wasn’t easy, but learning from my Bay City friends and people like Kennylux, my darling sistress Zen, Crap, Anthony & Mo, Vick, KinZiki, Torley, Michael (King of the Moles!), Kaelin, Doc, Loki, all the Moles & Lindens, Claudia222, Cubey, Elvira, Draxtor, Gammy, Kaikou, Honour, Fenix, Shep, GoSpeed, Iris, Miss Jane, Shaman, Parker, Serenity, Owl, Nikokito, Sylvia, Washu, Mr & Mrs Hooker … cripes, I wish I could remember everyone right now … helped make me into the person I am now.
Then there was the addiction. A surgery that CC almost didn’t survive made me snap. I had trouble separating Real Life from Second Life. I wanted to escape, not knowing I’d survive without him. All my passwords were changed. My blog, Flickr, and any ties I had to the virtual world … a real world unto itself, mind you, had to be cut. Every non-essential app was taken off my phone and parental controls activated. Back on the heavy meds and into therapy again. But got strong again and found that there are many things one can do in Meatspace. I even got to be CC’s boss at the (not so secret) government facility we work at!
Then there was the B-side. Most likely it was from someone at work that CC, his girlfriend, I picked up the COVID-19 virus (along with who knows how many others), learning of this only after we were told to stay home (with pay!) and to wash our hands. Fever, cough, no sense of taste or smell … I was tested. A few days later I’m here in the hospital with an iPad and a teddy bear and I don’t think this is going to be good.
If this doesn’t get sent out, you will never know. If you are reading this, please help CC cope. He’s had enough loss. His father (mine, too), his daughter, and his grandparents all died the same year I first died. He’s had enough. We had a good 20 or so years after that, sure, but …
/me hands you an impossibly large box.
Take my Love. I have plenty for all of you. Perhaps I’ll see you all on the Big Grid and we can swap stories. I hear there’s no Grid goo and the Feed there works. Until then, there’s so much I haven’t done. Go out and do it for me.
Caitlin (AKA: Uccie, Zyx, and Xandah)
20 April 2020