I began to write this after finding out, just a few days ago, that Shelley Stocken passed away. I don’t know what to do; so, I’m doing this.
This is taking me some days to write. We are just…we are gutted.
The days are brimming with vacillations between the hideous grievance of unfairness and its concomitant floods of internal rage, and the purest gratitude of having had Shelley’s presence in our lives; I’m compelled to choose the latter — and deliberately so, I will hold to this — as that’s the example Shelley set.
I reflect upon the impersonal nature of our often-turbulent online world and that, sometimes — just sometimes — we get to meet our sublime online friends in real life.
Meeting Shelley Stocken in the real world, along with Shelley’s then-very-young children, and Ken McLeod — along with my then-Nintendo DS-obsessed kids who were not paying much attention to their company on that gifted day — in a Batemans Bay café, is a memory that I have always, and will always, cherish: my god, I’m glad I gave her the biggest hug on that day.
I would not dare to lay down in words to Shelley’s family how much of a good human they had in their life, every day: they already know this.
I’ve been able to meet some of the best people I could ever dream to meet throughout my involvement in the life of Stop the AVN. But, without fear of falling foul of any of my comrades, I think I can safely say that Shelley is number one. She was there from its inception, and she will always be there.
For me, personally, Shelley is a touchstone of goodness to which I repeatedly turn to ground my excesses in mood and abandon.
Put simply, Shelley was what I wanted to be when I finally grew up: scorchingly funny; staunchly ethical; fiercely intelligent; dedicated to evidence and reason; unwaveringly supportive; graceful in all that she did; poetic in every careful word; a black-belt in martial arts; and — oozing an infectious kindness lathered in the purest joy — oh so, so kind.
I have stated in a private forum that I feel like I have lost a limb: my funnier, smarter, kinder, and more decent right hand. We all have.
This image is from one of my recent Facebook posts — on May 11 2021 — featuring one of Shelley’s recent appearances on Mastermind, of which she was extremely excited and proud – as were we all (spoiler: Shelley did extremely well and, typically, turned to applaud her co-contestants individually).
Shelley: smart and full of joy:
I hope I’ve done you justice, dearest Shelley. How many of us can leave this world so blessed to have been so easy to love, simply by being oneself? What a grand life. Every darling coffee is for you.
Afterwards.Because funerals are terrible.
Bury me in my back garden,
Bum up or bum down, I don’t care.
Don’t fret for my soul,
Simply dig me a hole,
Roughly one-and-a-half metres square.Bury me in my back garden,
No casket, no coffin, no frills.
For next to no cost
I will slowly compost
Circumventing funereal bills.Bury me in my back garden,
As if I was one of your pets.
I take up more room
Than a terrier’s tomb
But I’ll save you a trip to the vet’s.Bury me in my back garden,
no need for a vicar or priest.
Just make sure I’m dead,
Chuck some dirt on my head,
And then drink to the newly deceased.