Yesterday, I found out that a friend I know through Second Life lost her brother just a couple of weeks ago.
I don't get into SL much at all these days and as such, speak to friends I met there very infrequently. But upon finding this out through a mutual acquaintance, I left her an offline reminding her of my email address and passing on my condolences.
She and I were very close when I was in Second Life a lot. We'd hang out under alts to get away from IM overload and just chill. We'd speak on the phone sometimes and we'd chat on messenger while she was at work during the day. She's a really amazing girl and a lot of fun to be around.
I was as upset last night upon hearing that as I would be if I had heard it about a lifelong friend I went o school with or something. I guess the point is that friendship, no matter where it is formed and no matter how many miles separates it, is as real on a virtual platform as a real life one.
I heard back from that friend last night and, as you would expect, she's in a lot of pain. Nobody's words can fix that... nor can anyone's actions. But I'd love to be able to offer her a hug right now. And I suppose that's what's difficult about friendshps that start online. They're often between people too far away to offer a real hug in times of need.
But that doesn't devalue them.Not at all.
And to that friend.... You have my phone number, my email, my Skype addy and Yahoo messenger ID. Anytime you need anything, you can find me.