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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

MEMORIAL TRIBUTE: Gone but Not Forgotten: A Tribute to Annabis Moody/Sharonna Spyker

Staff Reporter
• Tuesday, November 30, 2010
by Shon Charisma

It's so hard to say goodbye to someone who has touched your life and your heart; many on the SL grid and IRL are learning this now as their dear friend, Annabis Moody/Sharonna Spyker (Anne Cunningham IRL) lost her bout with cancer just before Thanksgiving. However, by remembering her exuberant spirit and encouragement, it is helping to lessen the pain of such a major loss.

smile, laugh, love, explore, express

These are the words that grace the profile of Annabis Moody, and they are words that embodied a woman who many thought to be sweet, good-hearted, and able to make others tap into their potential and aspire to accomplish their goals.

Sharonna was a Jacqueline of all trades--a host, model, an owner of club Dream Away, COO of ZHENYA ZONING Real Estate (ZEN), manager of Zensuality and land manager, independent music promoter for ZEN LIVE, cyberjournalist (working for SL Enquirer), and PSG Sandbox Admin, among other things.

A friend of Sharonna's, Clark Thatcher, shared with me his memories of her. "I knew Annabis Moody primarily as Sharonna Spyker," he said. "As she explained to me once, Annabis was her “working” alt, the business side of her Second Life. Sharonna was the persona she used to explore the fun side of SL. Like Annabis, Sharonna also worked with Zen. Her goal was to create a venue for live music. She called this endeavor “ZenLive” and had some lofty plans for it. As Sharonna, she also wrote about the SL music scene, delving into some of the more visionary efforts of musical artists to produce music for the SL audience.

"Sharonna once told me that although she didn’t have any musical talents, she loved music and wanted to use her journalistic talents to be a voice for musicians in SL. She and I worked together at Jojo’s Blues Bistro, she as a host and I as a DJ. Sharonna brought such a wonderful presence with her when we worked together, and she touched many people with her enthusiasm and effervescence. She also worked as a host at SLeek, a popular dance club with a large European clientele. People loved her there as well."

As someone who didn't have the pleasure of knowing Sharonna, talking to someone like Clark allowed me to envision a strong, loving, caring woman in Sharonna. As I began to talk to another dear friend of hers, YummySarra Genesis, I realized that what I envisioned was very accurate.

YummySarra met Sharonna a little a year ago when Sharonna danced at Solana Beach, now Solana Nude Beach. She had been hired by Zen at that time and had opened the dance club, Dream Away on Zensuality. Sharonna had asked YummySarra to come dance at the club, and she did. According to YummySarra, the club was small but very busy, and it became so popular that Sharonna had to move it and make it larger. "She had a lot of friends," YummySarra said. "Many I still talk to, and they visit the club still." Five months ago, after Sharonna fell ill, YummySarra took over as land manager, and currently, she's taking care of Dream Away and plans to do so for the foreseeable future.

YummySarra recalled a day in which Sharonna was in much pain, a day that ultimately led Sharonna to the doctors, where it would take two weeks of test before it was confirmed that she had lung cancer. "I remember that day Shar, Danica, and I had a meeting at a restaurant. She had moved to California with Jeremy, and she was not feeling well, was in a lot of pain. She was going to the doctor that day. It took them about two weeks of test to be sure, but that was when she found out she had cancer. She was in the hospital for a month before she went home."

And even in the sadness of this moment, YummySarra talks about Sharonna's happiness at finally being home and being able to do something as simple as shower. "She came home and took a hot shower and went to sleep. Gawd, she was happy about that, being clean and in her own bed."

"Sharonna had lost her mother at a young age due to cancer," Clark told me. "Sharonna first found out she had cancer in March of this year. It started in her lungs and even though she was treated for it, the cancer kept spreading. She endured so much during these last few months of her life, but even through all of her fight, she was always thinking of others. She told me during this time that if this was her time to go, she was ready, she felt she had lived her life to the best of her ability, she had no regrets."

And that "no regret" attitude carries over to her friends who have absolutely no regrets in having met Sharonna and having loved her.

"She was like my big sister," YummySarra said. "She helped me do new things in SL. It was hard for me to think though I knew this was coming. It's been hard for all of us. She was a best friend to everyone. There is such a void there without her, but it's how she worked with all of us that she believed in all of us that we will be able to move forward, like she is standing behind us, holding our shoulder, telling us it is OK, to move forward."

Clark shared her sentiments: "I had the great honor to know Sharonna in RL as well. She was a beautiful person. She lived her life as a “free spirit” in the sense that she thought everyone should have the freedom they needed to find what made them happy, or fulfilled. She was a delight to be around, funny and intelligent at the same time. I will miss Sharonna greatly. I count myself as very fortunate to have known her. I cherished her friendship as I have few others. There is a great emptiness in the world that she left. I know she is at peace now, for she brought so much joy into the lives of everyone she touched."

SLE founder and editor-in-chief, Lanai Jarrico, spoke of the passion that Sharonna exuded: "My memories of Sharonna (Annabis) is someone who was passionate about ZenLive. It was a place to celebrate musicians and their music. We were starting to work together when she told me she was ill and did not hear from her in months. When I heard the news from a mutual friend about her recent passing, I felt a great sadness and was reminded that SL is not a game for the faint of heart. We build connections and create friendships that erase the miles; she will be missed."

In their statement regarding Sharonna's passing, her friends and co-workers at Zhenya Zoning Real Estate Company wrote that "Annabis was our heart, our soul and our first employee. She sat with Zal by the campfire, she assisted Ash envisioning what ZEN could be, and she lead the execution of our vision – by being our community leader. She lived and breathed this company. The value of her impact is unquantifiable."

From her real life to her Second Life and every space within lives, Annabis-Sharonna-Anne was someone who touched others and made a mark not to be erased.

Second Life might appear to be just a virtual world where people come and live out whatever fantasies float about their minds, but there are many people who truly connect with others and make a lasting impact on others' lives. Sharonna Spyker was that kind of person. Her death transcends real life and infiltrates those real people who met her in Second Life and loved her for real.

Even as she knew her cancer could not be treated, she lived her life to the fullest and continued to inspire those around her.

smile, laugh, love, explore, express

Rest assured, Annabis-Sharonna-Anne ... you did all these things and more.

RIP Sharonna. Your memory will live on

If you have memories of Annabis Moody-Sharonna Spyker that you'd like to share, please do so by commenting.


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