Friday, October 1, 2021

Jessicabelle Dayafter's Memorial Service

By Bixyl Shuftan

With the announcement of the passing of Jessicabelle Dayafter in real life from Covid, word soon spread around Second Life. There were numerous reactions of sadness, and in Sunweaver Eclipse there was a permanent memorial flame to her set up. In New Bastogne were Jessicabelle had once been an officer as part of it's combat roleplay, there would be a memorial service set up in her honor.

On Sunday night, September 26, I and some others would get a teleport to the Jagdgeschwader 52 building in New Fallout. There were a number of personnel from German, Japanese, and Allied groups. Vickster Khun, one of the moderators of the combat roleplay, was also there. In the building were a couple airplanes. There was also an open casket with pictures of Jessica. There were also a few cars, and a hearse.

"Beautiful arrangement here," one pilot would say, "Jessica so special and loved. It's an honor to be included." Vickster would say, "She is a fine officer and a good friend." It wasn't long before the region was full. Vickster would say, "We will be moving to the church. Should let the players know they should just go to the church since the region is full. ... We're asking everybody to descript as much as possible." "Honor Guard you're the exception," one added. A comment by one that she wasn't wearing underwear got chuckles.

"Thank you all for coming," Draco Roux told everyone, "I'm going to be grouping you into cars and honor guard will be driving you in a procession. Thor you'll drive the first car of guests. Vickster if you can gather those in your car please." Vickster asked me and Nydia (who was also invited) to get in one particular German staff car. "Hang on to your hats ladies and gents," Thor would say, "though I'll be driving slowly, it's windy over the bridge." "That lamp post was already on the ground," mused one lady with me. Another mused, "A pilot is driving my car."

Eventually, the cars started, "GO SLOW and follow, don't race please." One driver was saying, "Hang on to your hats ladies and gents, though I'll be driving slowly, it's windy over the bridge." After a ride that was a little bumpy, we soon arrived at the church, "Everyone please make your way into the church and have a seat." And we did, some slower than others due to the slight lag. Liam Steele (Liam3017 Resident) was the priest for the service, and we greeted him as we came in. We then sat in the pews, except for the honor guard whom marched in to position.

Liam had Voice on, which came church music. But he would deliver the service in text.

Liam Steele (Liam3017 Resident): In life Jessie cherished the Gospel of Christ.
May Christ now greet her with these words of eternal life:

(All): Come, blessed of my Father!

Liam Steele (Liam3017 Resident): In baptism Jessie received the sign of the Cross.

(All): May she now share in Christ's victory over sin and death.

Liam went on, "Welcome to Mass today here in New Bastogne. We offer Requiem Mass for Jessie Dayafter. Friends, let us acknowledge our sins and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries. I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do; through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and to you my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God. May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bring us to everlasting life. Amen!"

The people would go, "Amen. Lord have mercy."

Liam Steele (Liam3017 Resident): Christ, have mercy.

(All): Christ, have mercy.

"Almighty God and Father, it is our certain faith that your Son, who died on the Cross, was raised from the dead,the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep. Grant that through this mystery your servant Name, who has gone to her rest in Christ, may share in the joy of his resurrection. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."

(All) Amen.

"We sit now to listen to God's Word. A reading from the Book of Numbers. The Lord came down in the Cloud. He spoke with Moses, but took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the spirit came on them they prophesied, but not again. Two men had stayed back in the camp; one was called Eldad and the other Medad. The spirit came down on them; though they had not gone to the Tent, their names were enrolled among the rest. These began to prophesy in the camp. The young man ran to tell this to Moses, ‘Look,’ he said ‘Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.’ Then said Joshua the son of Nun, who had served Moses from his youth, ‘My Lord Moses, stop them!’ Moses answered him, ‘Are you jealous on my account? If only the whole people of the Lord were prophets, and the Lord gave his Spirit to them all!’ The Word of the Lord."

(All): Thanks be to God.

Liam Steele (Liam3017 Resident): All rise now to greet the Gospel. The Lord be with y ou.

(All) And with your spirit.

Liam Steele (Liam3017 Resident): A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark.

(All) Glory to you, O Lord.

"John said to Jesus, ‘Master, we saw a man who is not one of us casting out devils in your name; and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.’ But Jesus said, ‘You must not stop him: no one who works a miracle in my name is likely to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us. ‘If anyone gives you a cup of water to drink just because you belong to Christ, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward. ‘But anyone who is an obstacle to bring down one of these little ones who have faith, would be better thrown into the sea with a great millstone round his neck. And if your hand should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life crippled, than to have two hands and go to hell, into the fire that cannot be put out. And if your foot should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life lame, than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye should cause you to sin, tear it out; it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell where their worm does not die nor their fire go out.’ The Gospel of the Lord.

(All) Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

"You may sit. For Marxists, everything is over when you die. Death is never spoken about. We avoid the word death. It is a going forth from this world. In general, the body will corrupt. Heaven is a place of refreshment, light, and peace. These are the prayers we pray. The soul, in a sense, goes ahead.

"Christians weren't the only people to use catacombs. Cremation has become popular in the last few years. Hindus use cremation because they have a totally different understanding of death. 'The Christian understanding is wrong.' The preference is clearly for burial.

"Death is an important moment in life. It's not that God will check your bank account. If life is only in production, there is no value in life. Our humanity doesn't have its root in value. This i the tragedy of sin. Christ shows us how we should be. How to whatever. Our intentions are different to how things actually turn out. Where is your heart tending. Man is not at the center.

"Purgatory is a waiting room for Heaven. The Last Judgement is at the end of time. Advent is to prepare us for death and for the end, the Second Coming. Faith is to say God exists. If someone tells you in London the streets are paved with gold, you might believe them but then you go to London and you see they are paved with gold, you lose faith because you see it to be true. The world doesn't end, its re-fashioned. God will give you a new and improved body. Our nature is, to a certain degree, damaged. Life isn't what it should be. This is because of original sin. The only way out of here is in a boc. It's not like a reality show. I am not on a stage before everyone, 'Oooh, is Liam going to Heaven or hell? Oooh! He's going to Heaven! A round of applause! Well done!' No, this is not the case. It wasn't that they installed new traffic lights. 'You can be nasty to people on Fridays.'

"If sin is self-harm, it needs healing. Christianity is often seen as centered on sin. You have to use it. If you just have it, it does nothing. God offers His strength to be better people. The best person we know probably has personality issues. Most people have rough edges. Any human image used will be wrong. We're given the preparation to be in a very good place. We are called to find life everlasting. We can have this hope to live not depressed. Time moves slow. We are stuck in this rut. 'They give you your own cloud.' This is not the Christian view of Heaven. We've lost live entertainment. This view of Heaven as a magnified experience of loving. You are the best version of yourself when you are loving. When we truly love, we are at our best. Love is not selfish. Love is deeper than this. 'Love is kind.'

"We stand now as we make our Prayers and Intercessions. God, the almighty Father, raised Christ his Son from the dead; with confidence we ask him to save all his people, living and dead: For Jessie who in baptism was given the pledge of eternal life, that she now be admitted to the company of the saints. We pray to the Lord."

(All) Lord, hear our prayer.

Liam Steele (Liam3017 Resident): For Jessie who was nourished at the table of the Saviour. That he/she may be welcome into the halls of the heavenly banquet. We pray to the Lord.

(All) Lord, hear our prayer.

Liam Steele (Liam3017 Resident): For the family and friends of Jessie that they may be consoled in their grief by the Lord who wept at the death of his friend Lazarus. We pray to the Lord.

(All) Lord, hear our prayer.

Liam Steele (Liam3017 Resident): For all of us assembled here to worship in faith, that we may be gathered together againin God's kingdom. We pray to the Lord.

(All) Lord, hear our prayer.

Liam Steele (Liam3017 Resident): For those who have fallen asleep in the hope of rising again, that they may see God face to face. We pray to the Lord.

(All) Lord, hear our prayer.

Liam Steele (Liam3017 Resident): God, our shelter and our strength, you listen in love to the cry of your people: hear the prayers we offer for our departed brothers and sisters. Cleanse them of their sins and grant
them the fullness of redemption. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

(All) Amen.

"Pater Noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum."
"Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name."
"Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra."
"Thy will be done in heaven and on earth."
"Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie et dimitte nobis debita nostra."
"Our daily bread give us today and forgive us our debts"
"sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris."
"As we forgive our debtors."
"Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo."
"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."

"Amen," went the parishoners.

Liam3017 Resident: The Lord be with you.

(All) And with your spirit.

Liam3017 Resident: Lift up your hearts.

(All) We lift them up to the Lord.

Liam3017 Resident: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

(All) It is right and just.

"It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God. For it is at your summons that we come to birth, by your will that we are governed, and at your command that we return,on account of sin, to the earth from which we came. And when you give the sign, we who have been redeemed by the Death of your Son, shall be raised up to the glory of his Resurrection. And so, with the company of Angels and Saints, we sing the hymn of your praise, as without end we acclaim:

"Remember, Lord, your Church, spread throughout the world, and bring her to the fullness of charity, together with Francis our Pope and Philip our Bishop, and all the clergy. Remember also our brothers and sisters who have fallen asleep in the hope of the resurrection, and all who have died in your mercy: welcome them into the light of your face.

"We remember Jessie Dayafter whose Requiem Mass we celebrate today here in New Bastogne. Have mercy on us all, we pray,that with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God,with blessed Joseph, her spouse with the blessed Apostles, and all the Saints who have pleased you throughout the ages, we may merit to be coheirs to eternal life, and may praise and glorify you through your Son, Jesus Christ."

Liam would then say, "I now invite Vickster forward to say a few words." Vickster, still in her black dress, got up and walked up to near the casket in front of most of the crowd, "Hello everyone. I'm very honored to get to say a few words about my friend Jesse. Thanks everybody. I know Jesse would blush if she could see us now, making such a fuss. I met her when she joined the Luftwaffe back in 2010. She wanted Luftwaffe mostly because we were the only branch that allowed furries. That was our old squadron. Over the course of five years she rose in rank, and proved a competent leader and pilot. But she also brought a lot of life with her. Everyone loved her energy. She was never formal or demanding on lesser ranked people. She helped everybody, she gave a lot of things away. I was very surprised when she started building planes.

"We  went through a lot over that time. She eventually rose to command JG 52. And she held that for nearly two years before she retired from the Luftwaffe. But she never quit. She always showed up for events and ceremonies. She loved Bastogne and the players. When I was really down she held me up and kept me going. I could ask nothing more from a friend and sister. I can't wait to meet her again in our Father's house. I had more to say but I think I will close with this, she is my friend and sister and I love her. Thank you." She then walked back to the pews.

"I thank Vickster for her heartfelt words," Liam told, "And I now invite Nydia forward to say a few words." Nydia Tungsten then walked over from the pews to where Vickster had been. "We are all here to honor and Remember our good friend Jessicabelle Dayafter," she began, "I met her when I was still relatively new to Second Life.  She helped me through some rough spots in my life both real-life and SL.  She always was there for anyone that knew her and needed help. Many of you already know that.

"She introduced me to the WWII Roleplay.  She taught me how to fly here, how to RP, because I had never done it before. She made me passionate about it and we loved it. We loved hanging out with each other no matter what we were doing. Her attitude was infectious.  She was very passionate about modeling and acting.  Always ready to participate in the calendars and videos being made: even coming up with an idea for a video that she fit the lead role for, perfectly. If you haven't seen her creation please take a look here, she was very proud of it.

"In a world where so many try to blend in, it's people like Jessica that choses to stand out, and by that action alone she will be remembered in all she did, Fair skies my high flying Angel, until we meet again. I am sorry if I am rambling, it is getting hard to type because of the tears  I just... miss her,  and I always will."

Treva Morgan would comment, "My love and respect to Jessica Belle ... *smiles quietly, wishing her a journey filled with beauty and love. *" Sheba Lethecus (ShebaLethecus Resident) would say, "Jess was a friend and associate to all of us. Let's appreciate her friendship and her works. Let's remember her always."

Liam continued, "I thank Nydia for her wonderful memories of Jessie. Shall we stand? Trusting in God, we have prayed together for Jessie and now we come to the last farewell. There is sadness in parting, but we take comfort in the hope that one day we shall see Jessie again and enjoy her friendship. Although we will disperse in sorrow, the mercy of God will gather us together again in the joy of his kingdom. Therefore let us console one another in the faith of Jesus Christ. And I will now honour Jessie's coffin with incense as a reminder that her body was a Temple of the Holy Spirit, and we believe in the resurrection of the body.

"To you, O Lord, we commend the soul of Jessie your servant; in the sight of this world she is now dead; in your sight may she live for ever. Forgive whatever sins she committed through human weakness and in your goodness grant her everlasting peace. We ask this through Christ our Lord."

(All): Amen.

"May choirs of angels welcome you and lead you to the bosom of Abraham; and where Lazarus is poor no longer may you find eternal rest."

It was at this point Liam finished. The honor guard was then dismissed from their positions, followed by, "Everyon there is one last part a 21 cannon salute and flyover to honor Jessie it will be out to your right if you wish to remain it wont be much longer." Unfortunately, getting up from the pews and exiting the church, my computer chose that moment to crash. I would get one picture of a cannon going off. By the time I got back on and stayed, it was over. Fortunately, Nydia and Cynthia Farshore sent me a few pictures.

I did have a few more minutes with Vickster, "I hope we don't have to do this again soon. I did a flyover for another memorial earlier today ... in the Gulf. (The) Second Life Coast Guard lost an officer. ... We're getting  a little too good at the missing man formation."

 Kitty Fyre Morrison (KittyKatKait Resident) would have this to say, "I thought it was a wonderful tribute to a close friend." And this is how everyone thought of the event.

Jessica was popular in many circles. And no doubt more will be written about her in the future. But It was at New Bastogne where her inworld funeral was, with freinds from around taking part.

Bixyl Shuftan

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