Sunday, March 6, 2011

Farewell, Sabrinaa Nightfire

Farewell, Debbie Berman aka Sabrinaa Nightfire. Rest in peace and rise in glory in the great beyond.
Debbie Berman and her Second Life alter ego, Sabrinaa Nightfire
Our niece, Debbie Berman, died this afternoon at the age of 51. She fought a brave and optimistic fight against breast cancer. Debbie wrote and created art about her fight with Stage 4 breast cancer. She took the initiative right from the start, with a preemptory double mastectomy five years ago. 

We are very sad. The next generation is not supposed to die before we do.
"Shit, shit, shit... I have a lot more art to make" - words in the Stage 4 landscape
Images from Stage 4, a Second Life installation by Debbie Berman
Debbie's father, Captain Mel Berman, died a year ago at the age of 82. We miss him, too. Mel's friends keep his legacy alive at his fishing Web site

This is what happens as we age. It is the natural progression of time, but that doesn't mean we have to like it, even as we accept it. What choice is there?

Our thoughts and prayers are with Debbie's husband, Steve, and her mother and brother. We also hold all of Debbie's many, many friends in our hearts. May peace find them all and solace be theirs.
Debbie in October, 2007

Debbie was a phenomenal artist. She painted, quilted and took photographs in addition to creating computer art in the virtual world of Second Life. You can see some of her work at Flickr by clicking here.

Debbie is gone, but Sabrinaa will live forever in Second Life. And the flowers created by Debbie will bloom forever there, too.
Flowers created by Debbie Berman in Second Life

"There have been too many losses" are words I wrote in a poem penned in 1995 when my friend, Jeanne, died from breast cancer. Almost two years ago I cited that poem as I experienced a season of losses. It is a season that comes more frequently as the years fly by.

Lord, have mercy.


Ann said...

Yes Lord have mercy
So sorry

Corcosman said...

From one of her many Second Life friends, thank you for posting this, Lelanda. I cannot claim to be one of her close friends 'in world', as we say; but we did know each other through our mutual interest in art.

As well as sharing her own unique art in Second Life, Sabrinaa enjoyed showcasing the work of other people and I always looked forward to an invitation from her to enter an exhibition or contest that she was sponsoring. She was very encouraging to other artists and appreciative of their work.

The news about her began to spread on Twitter yesterday. Thank you for giving us a small glimpse of Debbie. She was a positive and attractive personality and that certainly came through in Second Life. People tended to gather around her and wanted to know her. I will miss her and I will remember you and all her family in prayer.

Gracie Kendal said...

Thank you so much for this post... I was also a friend of Sabrinaa's in Second Life. She was so inspiring and gracious. She gave me quite a few of her flower sculptures and I joked that now I could have my own garden. She invited me to participate in the Ambiguity of Identity show at Caerleon, which helped influence my art making in a huge way. I am so sad to hear she is gone. She was so strong and fearless. I will miss her!!!


Thank you, Corcosman and Gracie,for sharing your remembrances of Debbie/Sabrinaa. She was an amazingly generous, gifted and giving woman. A teacher and an inviter who shared her gifts and her spirit widely with grace and forthrightness, a blessing to many. Your stories of Sabrinaa's generous spirit definitely resonate with me.

margery7777777 said...

I am so very shocked and deeply saddened by this news.
I so enjoyed Sabrinaa's wonderful creations and her vibrant use of color, creations that ironically were so full of life!!
May her memory be as a blessing.

Isabella Alphaville

michael_sharpe said...

Sabrinaa was an is a beautiful spirit and I'm sure she shared that trait with Debbie. I'm sure she has been assigned to a higher calling since she was all about giving and being positive and as happy as she could be. A Very special person who still has a presence among us. How many people have her art and clothes. her spirit truly does live on.

Ormand Lionheart
a friend

josina said...

When I saw Sabrinaa in SL I always smiled about the double aa in her name, it was like calling someone enthousiasticly; "Sabrinaaaa!" and so a name not to forget. Her personality was friendly, enthusiastic and bussy creating in the virtual world and always showing interest in the works of others. I did not know about her personal struggle and am sad about this now. I know she started a new journey and all I can say is, goodbye Sabrinaaaaa...farewell

Josina Burgess

Miso Susanowa said...

Sabrinaa was a mother to me, helping me through a rebirth of my spirit and soul after a terrible time in the physical world. I cannot begin to say what her loss means to me and to the entire community of artists in Second Life. Without her encouragement and enthusiasm, many of us might not me making art in that world.

A whole community grieves for your loss and remembers how much she had to give, selflessly and with great love.

Anonymous said...

Sabrinaa, I will miss our talks about politburo leader George.
Let me share your work in this movie where you designed the set.
Your spirit is flying around there, I know for sure.


Isabella: Debbie/Sabrinaa's memory is already a blessing to many. I hope that all will continue to feel blessed and not too sad as each day passes. In the Berman family's ethnic tradition, remembering links us forward and backward in time with one another; we become a part of each other's story for all time.

Ormand: Those who have the gifts of Sabrinaa's art treasure them. There is something extra twinkly about them that I am sure is the infusion of her spirit, laughter and positive-mindedness.

Josina: Debbie/Sabrinaa loved to travel and explore, and for her the best part was always meeting the people. She had a voracious interest in others and their offerings. Thank you for remembering.

Miso: I know that Debbie/Sabrinaa will be honored by the enthusiasm, strength and paying it forward that will happen in her name because of people like you who were directly touched by her. A mother-spirit always longs for the launching of her children, longing to know that they are whole, secure and able wherever they walk. Remember that you carry Sabrinaa in your heart, and I have no doubt that she will also show up in your art. Peace.

savemeoh: I love your name, and I bet Sabrinaa did, too. Thank you for posting the video, which evoked the Debbie that I knew in this world. I have a Second Life avatar "KohniOKami" but that's as far as I gotten. I'll have to watch the tutorials to get up to speed so that I can visit Sabrinaa there!

With thanksgiving for all your thoughts,


butterfly laa said...

God Bless and keep you Sabrinaa, we had many good talks, thank you also for all those lovely clothes you made, one day I will see you again.
Today is my mothers birthday she died last year June 12th 2010 and you were do kind to me during that time ty.... See you again my dear friend blessings here is a song that I love, want to share with you

Blessing to you her family I am sorry for your loss.

Butterfly Laa (SL)

Corcosman said...

Lelanda, I sent KohniOKami a landmark so you can quickly go to Erato of Caerleon, Debbie's space in Second Life. And you are wise to watch some tutorials before going in world.

White Lebed said...

I still can't believe it..
She was so special! Who else would find something "funny" about her own cancer remission?? And that is exactly how she informed me "You know what is funny? I just celebrated with my friends 4 years cancer free and almost the next day they told me this.." I didn't think it was funny but we managed to crack some cancer related jokes, because that is how her mind was working. And later, when she got tired of my constant checking on her she told me "Stop worrying about me, White. I will be just fine! I promise you."
And I believed her, because as I have learned from years of working with her if Sabrinaa promises, she does. No matter how hard it is.
This was the first time ever she broke her word to me.
I just can't believe it.

MommaLuv said...

Thank-you Lee for posting this, as it reminds me of a conversation I had with Sabrinaa, by which she insisted that I know her Real name DEb and sent me a friend invite on FB warning me that she was not a stalker - just Sabrinaa-lol. And when I found this out- all I could think about was her Real Life family- as days in SL can be whimsical and pass too quickly. From there she showed the loyalty of a true friend & insisted on sharing things with me that i was very honoured to have her share with me as I was still quite a noob - as we are called there when you arrive in SL- even though my avatar was almost a year old.

I wish i took more opportunities to do the same for her. My Second Life became much more magical, especially when she showed me her flowers and designed sets for my shows. It's because of her that I have had very joyful experience as a Secondlifer. And just as you said: remembering links us forward and backward in time with one another; we become a part of each other's story for all time. And I am so grateful I have good memories, even if there werent more. Because each one is a solid print in my mind of her beauty.

She was always apologizing for her insanity to me( I wasnt insane) but at the same time saying if you dont like then tough! and thats where her and I clicked- i eventually had to say to her- woman! stop apologizing- Imma Loon. and we got a good laugh, even though her dad just passed.

She gave so much of herself & she will be with us as long as we remember. Much Love to her & your family for creating such an amazing woman!

God speed Sabrinaa!

Poppy Zabelin said...

I was blown away by your beautiful post. I have many close friends who are cancer survivors in Second Life but sadly I did not know Sabrinaa. That is my loss. I will go and visit her art and would be happy to help if you would like to arrange a small memorial to her on the American Cancer Society island in Second Life.

Big hug
Poppy (Volunteer Support Groups Director, American Cancer Society in Second Life, and a cancer survivor myself)

Sarai said...

I just can't believe she's gone... I miss her so much.

I'm so sorry for your incredible loss.

Debbie was a daily bright spot in my life for years, and my SL "bestie". There will never be a kinder, truer, more generous friend.

My heart aches, and I grieve for Steve and for you and the rest of her family, knowing that the gaping, empty space inside of me can be little more than a pinprick in comparison.

Fly with the angels now, my friend... I love you, and I miss you. I will never, ever forget you.



Dear Friends of Sabrinaa/Debbie,

Thank you for your sharing your memories of our beautiful Debbie/Sabrinaa. It is comforting to know that she is remembered so fondly by so many. It is wonderful to know that her generous, giving spirit and her art touched so many.

In time, Debbie's husband Steve will announce a memorial service for her in Florida where she lived. Meanwhile, we are grateful for the Second Life memorials that have been held for Sabrinaa.

May your lives be blessed and your heartache be healed.


Unknown said...


I'm still missing you, my friend. Not a day goes by that I don't think of you. I wish you were still here, but I know that is selfish of me. I love you!


Unknown said...

I'm thinking about you alot lately, Debbie. I love you! I miss you.


Unknown said...

I love you, Debbie... and I still miss you every day. <3

Everything I do in SL reminds me of you. I can't help thinking about what you would say or do about this or that if we were still in it together.