Sunday, March 26, 2006
Jeen Lilly, a.k.a. ev brown
I am mourning the loss of a friend today. It is Jeen Lilly of Scrumptious Monkey, a.k.a. ev brown. her previous blog was Happyland. She passed away sometime during the past week. I still don't know the cause, it is not yet determined.
She was an "online" friend most of the time I knew her, she lived in Connecticut and had never been further from home than New Jersey. She was a big fan of Eric Johnson ("Scrumptious Monkey" was the nickname he had given to an amp that he had helped design) and had become fascinated with Austin because of him ...I had fun sending her stuff that was Austin-centric... a Music Awards section of the Chronicle, a "Naked" calendar (locally produced charity project featuring naked photos of Austin musicians), a cartoonish poster map showing various landmarks, clubs, shops, etc.
She was a super-intelligent person. I told her several times that I was confident that she was Mensa material. (I've met lots of Mensans, due to the fact that I are one... I mean... I is one) There was always a skeptical response, but I still sincerely believe it. She was a wonderful writer and poet, very witty and wonderfully sarcastic. She could take aim and hit her target square in the eye every time, and using as few words as possible. Admirable! I mean that with all my heart.
She was also a very caring person. She was empathetic. It can be a curse or a gift when you soak up other people's feelings so much that you feel them as well, but that was one of her traits.
Like me, she was childfree, lost her father when she was a teenager, and was usually just the odd one out. Lots of things to mutually relate to.
I was really tickled when she declared that she was moving here, almost giggly. She was leaving an unhappy domestic situation and starting over here. I was so happy for her and couldn't wait to start showing her around. I completely understood about the fresh start and how hard it is. Austin was a fresh start for me too. Then, here comes an Eric Johnson show on the very night of her arrival! At Antone's, no less. One of the places she mentioned really wanting to see sometime (along with Whole Foods, Book People, Waterloo Records, etc.). After the show, I introduced her to Eric and they chatted for some time. I don't know what they talked about, I stepped away, it was like a little party there. I kept seeing people I knew. When the next EJ/Double Trouble show came up at Antone's, we gave her a ride to and from, she was still not too sure about some of the roads and such, and I totally sympathized, I still get lost here once in a while. Malford Milligan reached down and grabbed her hand during that show (as he will do!!) and she loved that.
We also got her started going to our UU church, something she had looked forward to and had been without in CT. She attended 2-3 times in the short 6 weeks being in Austin. She was a Pagan and was looking forward eventually to getting started with their CUUPS group. I sure seem to gravitate toward Pagans as friends for some reason. All my life it's been that way.
It seemed like things were really going to work out, she had another friend in town who was helping her out with basic needs of shelter, transportation, phone and computer (the basic geek requirements, aren't they? I am including myself in that category). She had gotten her own apartment, started a healthy diet, and was determined to make it. She had looked for work in a bookstore and gotten hired as a cake decorator. Isn't that the way life treats you sometimes?
I saw on her blog that she'd had a training day and was ready to start it the same day (It was an early morning post). That was on the 17th. I knew that her mother had died on the 11th, but she said she wasn't going to go up for the funeral, but still it entered my mind when I saw no postings for a few days that maybe she had changed her mind about that, or was just overwhelmed with the new job, etc., and we do a lot of stuff during the week of SXSW which was March 15-20 so it was busy busy for us.
On Wed. the 22nd I sent an email - just a "how's it going, how's the new job, keep in touch" intended just to get a response because she always responded to email within a day or so. Nothing. Sent another one Friday with mention of a new bookstore opening and potential non-cake-decorating job. I also poked around some and discovered she'd had no activity on various forums where she was active (and I hadn't previously noticed her absence from Eric's forum because of SXSW and lack of forum-browsing time). I tried calling, and both land and cell just kept ringing, no messaging service ever kicked in. Calling is my last resort, I am an email person, not a phone person, and I only make phone calls that I really need to make. On Saturday (yesterday) people got involved and I learned of her passing this morning (Sunday).
There is a thread going over on Eric's Forum for ev. It is there to leave comments on ev, and of course they are welcome here too.
I will miss her terribly. This is a very sad day. I do want to know what happened, but will not speculate here. We simply don't know yet.