This is not Rheta

Hello. As it says above, this is not Rheta writing. And this is not one of the mind games she was so fond of either. You don’t know me. I am the guy doing the tech work for this blog. I have been happy to count myself among the friends of its creator for quite some time, the woman you probably only know as Rheta Shan. For reasons I will not discuss, she chose to gift me with the trust of her second life; in the past two years I have heard more from her about the magic of that game than I ever cared for, and she has heard more taunts from me about it than anybody deserved.

It seems that makes me the only person who can share the following piece of news, as it reached me from her husband, to the people who lived that virtual life with her:

… on April 3rd, my wife was hit by a van as she crossed the street to get to the bakery. She was dead before SAMU could reach the hospital. She was 9 months pregnant; our unborn son died shortly after she did, despite doctors’ best efforts. […]

I know how much Valérie loved an cherished the people she friended as Rheta. Even if your world is not mine, and howewer much I mocked her for it, I know her feelings were genuine, and I am sure the feelings she got in return were too: she was simply too warm hearted and wonderful a person not to love. In a way, her second life friends were the extended family she had not, and I present my most heartfelt condolences to that family. We all lost somebody very special.

I also know that among all the special people she met, there was one who held a place in her heart no one could rival, her lover Thaddy. Thaddy, if you happen to read this, I know this must be devastating news, and I am deeply sorry to be the one to have to tell it. But please, by all means, get in touch with me – you are the heir, and executor, of the virtual estate left, and I do not want to take any further steps without talking to you.

Valérie, you made the world around you a brighter place. Rather than mourn you, I will try to keep a bit of that light in my heart, and bask in its warmth and glow whenever I think of you.

Adieu ma belle.

57 thoughts on “This is not Rheta

  1. There are no words to express, Martin, our gratitude for your post. This news comes very hard, and friends gather now to mourn the passing of a great and wonderful woman.

    Without your post, many would still be wondering, wandering and unable to find closure to a relationship that was among the most dear.

    My condolences to you, Martin, on the loss of Valérie.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss, Martin. I can’t imagine what I would do if something like that were to happen to my beloved.


  3. I only met Rheta briefly thru’ her entry to Dusan Writer’s UI Design Competition, (which I helped to judge) which, of course, Rheta went on to win. This is desperately sad news and my condolences go to all her friends and family, real and virtual.

  4. She did not will her estate formally, as in leaving a will, but she has told me more than once she wanted me to take care of some things if she should ever have to leave. And I always promised I would, because, well, that would never happen, right?

  5. Neither can I. Right now, I find it hard to believe she will not call me on Skype anymore, chirpy as ever, testing my French with her merry chatter. I can’t even start to imagine how soul ripping the news must be for those so much closer to her than I was, and my thoughts and sympathy fly to them, and to her beloved Thaddy first of all.

  6. Oh my god. It’s unbelievable how someone could die of something so sudden, being alive one day and dead the next. I barely knew Rheta, but I am truly sorry for her family (including Thaddy) and friends’ loss.

  7. How is anybody ever going to present that kind of paperwork? The only person who could do so is one that must not ever learn about her second life, her husband.

  8. I’m saddened by this news, and realize so many people are hurting even more by our loss. My prayers and support go out to all of you, especially Thaddy, and thank you especially to Rheta’s husband for sharing the news with us, and to Martin for keeping us all together–we need that RL/SL sometimes, even though we might not always know it…


  9. Pingback: Mourning « Ahuva’s Blog

  10. Pingback: » Today, I Remember My Friend Couture Conundrum

  11. I feel as though i must say something, but my fingers just wont type.
    I love you Rheta more than anyone i have ever met in my entire life.

  12. This is sad news indeed. My condolences and best wishes to the friends and family, I cannot even imagine your pain.

  13. Pingback: Raul Crimson

  14. I sent Rheta an IM thru g-talk just a few days ago, and now know why i had not heard back from her. Though I have stepped away from SL, I just had to know how things were going with the new baby. I remember sitting with her on her plot of beachfront land on the same day she announced to a few plurkfriends that she was pregnant. She had helped me through some tough times with her signature dose of raw humor and unflinching straight talk, and i relished feeling like i was in some way returning the favor – a mother of 3 sharing with a first-timer the changes and joys she could expect in the months to come. We laughed as we talked about bras and stretchmarks, food and well-meaning husbands, the SL sun frozen by us to frame the moment in a perpetual sunset. The memory now is so painfully bittersweet.

    I considered her a close friend, but the truth is that I know many who were much closer to her than I. And Thaddy…words utterly fail. I’m so sorry, so very sorry.

  15. Pingback: Rheta Shan « Dwell On It

  16. Pingback: Metanews Daily 58 | SLPN

  17. Though I did not know Rheta or Thaddy, I have friends that did and know that they are in mourning today, as well, for this terrible and tragic lost. My heart goes out to the rl and sl friends, family, and loved ones of this bright, young woman who obviously touched so many lives in both worlds.

  18. I was saddened to learn of the death of the person who powered Rheta Shan from a mutual friend on the phone this evening. Rheta, as we all agree, was a vital and brilliant light in Second Life for many, especially her partner, Thaddy.

    That being said, I think Martin indicated something very important to Valerie’s wishes, and that is that her Second Life does not come into her First Life. Martin has been her real life confidant and is handling the business of mediating her two lives admirably–thank you, Martin, for remembering us out in the metaverse and remembering that Rheta is in our hearts as well. Without your intervention, we may never have known.

    It’s incumbent upon all of us to remember our ethical position as residents in protecting each other’s confidentiality. We should not chase after Valerie’s real life nor should we try to contact her family. If I read Martin’s statement correctly, a reveal of her Second Life would cause undue pain to those she left behind in both lives.

    My prayers go out to Rheta’s SL partner and Valerie’s RL husband. One will read this; one, I hope, never will. The prayers go out nonetheless.

  19. Pingback: Rheta Shan (2007–2009) « Samantha Speaks!

  20. Hold me, close to memory with your voice,
    I’ve told you, far more of life than was my choice,
    a brilliant, crystalline divorce, has married once a new,
    truth beyond what’s true.
    My soul walked among all of you,
    until now.

    I am still here, suspended in the dusk,
    between the worlds, that carry on as the must.
    Hold me in your mind’s eye,
    that image will not yet die,
    even though,
    and so, and though,
    the puppet’s strings are clipped,
    the ancient ladies, touched the twine of fate just so.

    All that I was, I am.

    Hold me, tethered to the earth,
    essence will slip through your fingers,
    your grasp is all that lingers,
    and faint forgotten so,
    all you needed to know,
    was in the light and flow,
    of symbols made real, more real than I was.
    More real than I am.

    Hold me in your memory,
    and speak softly with your voice,
    I’ve left for other plains,
    though not by my own choice.

    Speak and remember, that here
    I was more real than real.
    That is what you will feel.

    Good night, good bye, good luck.

  21. Pingback: Rheta Shan R.I.P. « Sio’s Second Life

  22. Martin,

    As you’ve seen, there are a lot of people you didn’t know about who loved Valérie but only knew her as Rheta.

    I put this video together as a way to thank Rheta – and Thaddy – for the love and friendship they’ve shared with me. Perhaps it will provide further testimony of the love we will always have for her:


  23. Pingback: Thank You Rheta « Kinky Kitten Kaboodles

  24. Pingback: Sorrow « Dale Innis’s Weblog

  25. Pingback: When A Virtual Stranger Dies « Mo Hax

  26. Pingback: Truth and Consequences : SLFix

  27. Pingback: Rest in Peace, Rheta Shan « Pervasive Games: Theory and Design

  28. I know Rheta only a little, but she will be missed.

    My sincerest condolences to her friends and family.


  29. Thaddy is a Second Life friend, and knows my RL persona too. I didn’t find out about this until yesterday.
    I doubt that there is anything left worth saying that hasn’t been said.
    I am ashamed that it took until now to find out.
    I spoke briefly inworld to Thaddy today. The girl is numb. I am so ver, very sorry for Valerie’s husband, and for Thaddy. Rheta’s SL partner.
    Be at peace.


  30. Pingback: No man is an island « Second Life Shrink

  31. hadn’t been by in a while, my own issues…. not a happy thing to read.

    Goodbye Rheta, I missed you, and now… well, you are missed. ::bisous::

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s