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.


Anonymous said...

Gone From My Sight

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says: "There she is gone!"

"Gone where?"

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says, "There, she is gone!" There are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout: "Here she comes!"

And that is dying.

by Henry VanDyke (1852-1933)

Ptelea said...

Thank you, Blueberry for this warm tribute to our mutual friend ev. I too was positively giddy when she announced that she was moving to Austin. I am so glad that she had you for a friend down there to help her get out and enjoy life. I will post something over at my blog as soon as I can get my thoughts together. This is such an abrupt end to an incredibly special person who touched our lives in so many positive ways. Robert - I like the thought that ev is just gone from our sight - not really gone although it is going to be hard to live with only the memories.

Anonymous said...

I have so much to say about ev, that the ball of words is just too big to come out.
So I sit quietly and remember her as she was in our closest times, a couple of years ago.

Know this: ev lived in a fantasy world. Until she moved to Austin, 95% of everything she experienced
was in cyberspace, and in her handwritten stories in her hundreds of notebooks, and in her fertile imagination.
The time she spent in the daylight world of real-life was so small, and so.... inconsequential.
She was in a special place. A place of fantastic literature, and incredible history, and depth of thought. A place of great passion and transcendent love, that easily crosses the boundaries of life and death, and life again.
It's almost as if she was flying through her dreams and fantasies and imaginings, and finally decided to simply reach down and cut the cord that connected her to the solid world that we live in.
A hindrance to a spirit such as hers.

Blueberry said...

Thank you all for your comments. I also want to mention, if you didn't read it on Eric's board, that ev's sister has left a comment on her last post over at the SM. PC-right-click for new window.

Anonymous said...

Ev was a manager in my MSN group. I have done a tribute page to her. I will miss her terribly and she will always be in my heart.

Blueberry said...

Anon: I have found your very nice page. There is a Pagan prayer atop the sentiment. I think it's a nice one to say at a memorial for her when that happens. Don't you think so?

Anonymous said...

robertg's quotation from Henry VanDyke is beautiful. And so is your obituary. I am so sorry to hear of the impact this lady's death has had on you, and I hope her passing was peaceful. I am sure she is supported by whatever gods and goddesses she worked with, into her next life. Sending you love and support from across the water. x