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.
By Shelley Stocken, 30 September 2017:
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.
How was that her last post? Incredible woman. Already much missed
Beautifully put mate. Shelley was the best of us. Her humour, intelligence, compassion and wit will be so missed. There’s a hole in my soul which wasn’t there a few days ago.
Thanks Hank. I’ll be back to read this again.
How many of us can leave this world so blessed to have been so easy to love, simply by being oneself?
Not many, she was surely one of them. Thanks for these words Hank.
Thanks so much for putting this together. I used to have coffee Shelley and a couple of friends from school years ago and our kids did Scouts and pre-covid, I used to see her quite regularly and we always intended to get the four of us together again for coffee, but for some reason even the simplest things like coffee get put off, and then it’s too late. I have lost two much closer friends in the last few weeks and I know that horrific searing pain too well, but also the desire to feel and honour that pain because those friends meant the word to me, and it it only right to hurt. Since losing these friends, it’s also brought me closer to those around them, around me and I feel like so many connections have been fortified as a result. There’s been such a strong legacy. All is not lost.
Thinking of you and sharing your love and loss of Shelley,