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______________________________________March 19, 2000_________
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In Remembrance of Tim Shibata aka Ronan of Avatar
=================================Editorial from Darii========
Several weeks ago I spent an afternoon trying to reestablish
my contact with Ronan's family. I had not heard from them in
quite a while, and when I checked it turned out to have been
half a year. I was becoming apprehensive about the silence and
By the end of the afternoon my worst fears were confirmed.
This is a compilation of notes, remembrances, and letters
from the people who knew him, and a few from those who had
only heard of him.
With this issue comes a chance to convey our regard for him to
his family. From my phone calls with them, and Tim's stories,
I believe them to be a very Japanese (and probably fairly
conservative) family living in California. His brother was
well aware of Avatar, but I believe that his parents and aunt
may have been unfamiliar with the Tim we knew as Ronan.
I plan to gather your anecdotes, notes, and writings in a
small book to send to them. I think (or hope) that it might
be healing for them to know how we saw him and to see in what
high esteem we held him.
Don't make him look like an angel, but, umŠ. edit if you need
to. blink I'll reprint it all on nice paper and paste it into
a small handmade book. Please mail things to me by April 15.
Please use my email@example.com address, and make the subject Ronan.
It began here:
==Wednesday, March 8, 2000=====================================
I regret that I must share with you the news that Ronan,
known as Tim Shibata to his friends, died at the age of 21 on
September 3, 1999 in a nursing home in California.
Tim, known as the Avatar Elder Immortal Ronan, was born with
neurofibromatosis, widely known as "the elephant man's" disease.
He fought his condition, in all of its various incarnations,
with courage and grace. He was able to attend school until
junior high, when it became necessary for him to be hospitalized
more and more often. After he had been home-bound for several
years even his most steadfast friends visited less often and he
turned to the internet for social contact. He found good friends
and a special niche at Avatar. He became a respected coder and
an asset to the Immortal staff.
Two years ago another "routine" surgery for three particularly
invasive and troublesome tumors led to a difficult
convalescence: pneumonia, a coma from which he did wake, lengthy
hospitalization, and a permanent need for nursing home care.
Tim knew his Avatar family cared about him, and our letters,
cards, and presents meant a lot to him. In January of last year
I spoke to his mother and his aunt; at that time he was stable,
but deaf, nearly blind, on a feeding tube, and unable to sit up
or even move without help. Because of vocal cord damage he could
not speak, but had enough finger movement to spell words out,
letter by letter on the palm of a hand.
Although his family promised to notify me if his condition
worsened, they did not. Last year I lost contact with them, and
have been thinking about him more and more often. Today I dumped
boxes of stuff on my floor and found the phone number of the
nursing home. They verified what I had feared: Tim passed away
last year. Fifteen phone calls later I found his obituary, and
the definite information I share with you here.
We watched Tim grow into a mature young man. He helped build the
Avatar we inhabit, and we have missed his presence. Free of the
restrictions of his failing body, he will live on in our
memories and in our hearts.
Requiem for Tim Shibata
Brother, son and friend in equal measure.
The unfortunate inheritor of Merrick's mantle,
you stood, head held high, in the face of stupidity.
Your mind, acute and finely honed, and
your technical acumen without peer
Your wasted voice made pure and strong
and your body, misshapen, made whole and hale.
We counted you our mentor and guide
in this strange virtual realm we've built.
We counted you our friend and confidant--
a compassionate and flexible ear.
We counted ourselves lucky to be with you,
so wise for your young years.
I wonder, Tim: Did you hear Barber's Adagio
playing in your head? Those last months, when
your body wouldn't work, did your mind come here,
to be with us? You've put your own indelible stamp
on this odd little world we share.
We never had the pleasure of meeting--for that
I'm sorry--I know we would have laughed together.
Fly, now, Peregrine. Seek thy aerie above.
You shall be missed.
Requiescat in pacem.
...and into the sunset we go...
I sit here, wondering what to say.
Not wanting to come off as my normal, pseudo-cocky self.
Take what I as serious statements. This is not a joke. :-p
I hop on today, after my phone lines bit the dust.
Only to read that Ronan had left for the real Avatar.
Let me tell you some things about Ronan.
Way back when, Agent had a mud.
With his mud, I got guest imm-manship on Avatar.
Ronan was our guest Imm...
We loved it. Couldn't have been more filled with glee.
In the young days of Agent and Seminole,
The only people who would put up with us on Hchat
Were Snikt, Mendek, and Ronan.
He had that hugely -prized- sense of humor,
No matter how warped,
To understand our escapades on Av.
Someone who could crack up at the fact that Agent and I were
sitting in Sol, Casting 'change sex' on the lowbies.
In the short time he was on 'our' (Agent's, really.) mud,
He seemed to enjoy it. Gave compliments to Agent on his code,
etc. We chatted for a while, and he left.
That was the first and almost the last he ever came on to the
mud, for soon after, he was struck with the coma.
Agent and I had respect for Ronan.
Something that's hard for us to give to establishment figures.
(Although I'm talking for Agent, I think(hope) he'll agree.)
Ronan was a good man. Respectable. With humor.
Something hard to come by.
I know you're out there somewhere, thwacking the lag for us.
He will be dearly missed by me. I would think Agent, as well.
See you on the flip side, Ronan.
Number: 76 Board: creative
From: Darkrose To: all
Date: Wed Mar 15 18:45:39 2000
I spent many a long hour under the watchful eye of Ronan.
He was an endearing fellow, who took the time to help this
ranger along the correct path.
Ronan will be remembered by me.
I will miss you Ronan. May your final resting place be a safe
When I first became an Immortal, Ronan was assigned to me as my
mentor. He quickly became someone I could approach with any
problems I was having with my position. We also discussed code
quite frequently, as well as stories. I never knew Ronan had
the problems he did until the news of his surgery, because it
never came across that he was disabled in any way. I miss Ronan,
he was a really nice person to talk to. The one thing I regret
is that I was never able to get some paperwork to him on how to
do something in Linux.. and I had promised to get it to him.
Number: 83 Board: immortal
From: Darii To: all
Date: Wed Mar 8 22:22:34 2000
Subject: kindness and humanity
I guess, on Ronan's passing, I have one more thing to say. One
day I sat with him a long time after he saw someone on channels
say that his picture on the photo page looked "retarded" and
not even a bit handsome. It had taken some trust and youthful
optimism to send it in the first place, and he was deeply hurt.
Avatar had been a safe place for him; his disfigurement and
wasted vocal cords, his blurred sight, and impaired dexterity
did not show or matter. His humor, his loyalty, and his coding
earned him respect and regard.
"Avatar is just a game" is a statement is both true and very
false. Real people reside here. Typed symbols have the ability
to heal or hurt. I'm glad Tim found a safe haven here.
I'm committed to keeping it so.
Number: 36 Board: general
From: Galladan To: all
Date: Thu Mar 9 01:51:53 2000
Amen. I never knew Ronan, but I was truly touched by what Darii
said. I am shocked that anyone would say anything as cold as
what Darii mentioned and I hope we can all remember to be better
people here than we might otherwise be. I will miss Ronan and I
hope he was happy until the end.
Galladan, Lord of the Andain
Upon rereading I've omitted a few very personal recollections
and letters to me. I encourage those people to write something
specifically for the book if they would like to. Thanks, Darii
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