A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from a friend who had left Second Life. Her message was a surprise; she had been gone for months and wanted to re-connect. While I was very happy to hear from her, given the circumstances of her departure, I wasn’t really sure what to say; when Night M. left Second Life this past January, she wanted it to be for good.
I know some of the people reading this blog knew Night. For those of you who didn’t, there is no question that Nightflower cannonballed into Second Life and made quite a splash. She was prolific in her digital life. She wrote a wonderful blog, collaborated on some fascinating comics, was a rabid Plurker, and designed a sim with a gallery devoted to digital art. Those who knew her found her to be a good friend and remarkable woman. Despite her zeal for SL, Night had a hard time balancing her first and second lives and much of her time in SL was kept a secret from her husband. This secrecy led to a departure in the Fall of 2008 with a return nearly six weeks later. She dove back into Second Life with vigor but finally decided to make a very public departure on her blog at the end of January 2009. She did not want to be able to return and deleted her account. Time has passed, however, and the urgencies of her first life have slowed and she’s started to process what she valued about her second life and, in her own way, is raging against the dying of the light.
Since coming to Second Life, I’ve grown to recognize that having friends and loved ones leave the virtual world is part of the experience. But what happens to someone who had been active in Second Life after they leave? I know that it is a very personal experience that differs for everyone; as we talked in gmail about what being Night meant to her, she gracefully agreed to be interviewed and share just a little of her experience leaving Second Life. Read what Night had to say about why she left and where she is now after the jump.