So many people mobilized for Giulia Pelos, an Italian girl whom everybody in Second Life known with the nickname of Squinternet Larnia, designer and owner of the virtual fashion brand Donna Flora. Giulia a few years ago was diagnosed with a cancer, she had to reduce her presence in the Linden Lab‘s virtual world for treatment, but was lucky, the beast seemed to have lost the battle. This type of disease is unfortunately often treacherous, feeds you on illusions and then suddenly wakes you up and reminds you that all we have to die one day and that your day is coming. I know better than others, my father died of cancer a few years ago, a couple of months after he told my son that we would have been together for Christmas because finally after months of therapy he felt again in force, had begun to walk and was doing rehabilitative exercises to regain muscle tone. Bone cancer took away him as Giulia, her only a few days ago, September 4th 2013.
I first met Giulia/Squinternet between the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009, when I was the Ceo of Best of Itailan and Piazza Italia (shopping lands of which was owner my friend Annemarie Perenti) and I kept in touch with her and other merchants exposing their products in the stores of the two sims. Giulia was a demanding client, sometimes even too much, could be worth and perhaps felt she did not have all the time in the world available to achieve the goals she had set, or maybe just was a determined character. After some time she started a commercial partnership (and to some extent an “artistic” partnership too) with another friend of mine, Patrizia Blessed (aka Patrizia Nofi, hello Pat), whom was yet one of the most appreciated Italian designer in Second Life with her own brand but whom in the last years has preferred to minimize their involvement in both the Californian online platform, because “RL comes first”, as it is logical that it is.
I had not heard of Julia (who continued to carry out regular activities), until last year the fashionist and blogger Caja Lilliehook started a contest, “A to Z project” in her favor, being able to attract the interest of many fans of graphics (models, designers, virtual photographers) and giving further impetus to the sales of her brand. The contest was interesting, unfortunately the reason was linked to a resurgence of the disease. The beast seemed still under control, but it was not so a few months ago and Caja has alerted all fans of virtual fashion in Second Life with a heart felt note which revealed that Giuila/Squinternet had again worsened, which had appeared bone metastases, that treatments costing every day more and Giulia/Squinternet was losing her strength.
Those that remained to her were enough to ensure that almost every day she read the posts and comments on the blog dedicated to the new project, Love Donna Flora, seeing the dozens of photos that users of Second Life wearing its products was posting on Flickr or Koinup, participate even one night, at an “in world” event dedicated to her. Until the last Giulia/Squinternet drew some relief, both material and spiritual, thanks to the initiative promoted by Caja and many others that in the wake of this have been organized, such as the exhibition “Jewel’s Joy” at Imagin@rium, the sim of Mexi Lane (aka Marina Bellini). I’ve avoided talking about, I preferred to keep silent almost complitely, limit myself to see what other people more able than me was able to express, because in my heart I already knew how it would end and I was afraid. I was afraid that this latest mourning albeit indirectly strikes me, after the loss of too many friends and relatives both “real” and “virtual” (in my heart and in my mind I keep the memory of other Second Life’s girls as Morgan Green McDowell, aka Cocomo Munro, passed away 4 June 2009, or of Cecilia Delacroix, died last june).
I feel stupid and too late now show you some photos I took with clothes and jewelery designed by Giulia/Squinternet, speak now of what she has done and what she has been for many people. But “that’s life” and we must go forward, isn’t it? Let me conclude with a double quote from the British television drama “Doctor Who”, one of my favored, taken from the episode dedicated to the death of River Song. (River): “When you run with the Doctor, it feels like it will never end. But however hard you try, you can’t run for ever. Everybody knows that everybody dies, and nobody knows it like the Doctor”… “Everybody knows that everybody dies. But not every day. Not today. Some days are special. Some days are so, so blessed. Some days, nobody dies at all”. I do not know if there is life after death, but for sure it would be nice in a way, as to the character of River Song (whom “the Doctor” save her litterally, recording her memory in a digital library), at least one memory of what we have been would be able to continue to live even after our own, inevitable physical death. Rest in peace Giulia, we will not forget you, as I hope my father will not be forgotten.