Still kind of reeling from the news so bear with me if I seem to ramble a bit. I heard the news from Jackie (ladydchaos) late Friday night via the fixed line and subsequently discovered I'd left my mobile downstairs and that she and Heather (burntcopper) had been trying to reach me. I'd also not seen Simon's (gonzo21) posts as I'd not been online most of that evening. Sorry to all of you about that.
I have this enormous sense of shock and disbelief. While I was objectively aware of the possibility, I never actually believed Selena wouldn't pull through. I think Tors (tirinar) summed it up best - I assumed she would simply because the alternative is unthinkable.
Unfortunately, I also had a friend's wedding to go to the next day. I can't honestly say I was in the mood for it but Neil had been very anxious for as many of us from the fencing club to be there and, in the end, only a handful of us were able to make it. So, I decided to go and didn't say a word about Selena to anyone. Still don't know if I made the right decision or not; not actually sure there is one but at least it kept me busy for a day.
Looking back, it occurs to me I'd only known Selena a little over a year. We first met at Ascendant - I'd just got to the hotel, headed over to the con area to catch up with Heather who was chatting to her and Jackie. I was quickly struck by her intelligence, knowledge, perceptiveness and very refreshing occasional directness ("we'll talk later about my skanking a lift off you to End of Days") - it's hard to describe how much that last one means to someone who's spent too much time working in management consultancy!.
As a result, I quickly came to regard Selena as one of my closest and most trusted friends - she had a knack of spotting when something was on my mind pretty much as soon as I realised it myself. It also amused me the way she habitually addressed me as Grand Master (due to my Templar/conspiracy geek tendencies). Our views on subjects like politics and economics were poles apart but, far from being a problem, this was actually part of the fun. I certainly enjoyed the innumerable debates we had on subjects like Vietnam, New Labour and the like. I certainly appreciated the alternative perspective.
Living in the area, she also made it to a couple of Terra Nostra meetings. The word "couple" is very important - we have only one membership rule: You turn up. Again. Very few have ever managed the last bit. Needless to say, she fit right in, sharing our somewhat cynical and irreverent appreciation of good cult TV and film. A regret: Selena was keen to attend more but we've been a bit lax about TN meets of late, due to cons and the like.
Last time I saw Selena was a couple of months ago. She took me up on my offer to come up and spend the weekend in London. Definitely a fun weekend - round Forbidden Planet with Sue and Roz, dinner in Japanese noodle place, order-in pizza, B5 DVDs, experimenting with downloading REM tracks for my Xbox Karaoke kit (another regret: wish I'd carried out my threat to record her singing). I suppose one tiny consolation is that, while that was the last time I got to see her, it was at least a great one.
Heather and Jackie have already uploaded a couple of my favourite images of Selena so here's a few more (more than ever, I love my digital camera):
From End of Days, Jackie, Selena and Cathy. Selena described this as the "Whore Sandwich" photo and was most anxious to know if it had survived an unfortunate memory card failure (although the description proved somewhat confusing when trying to identify which photo she meant:-))
Heather, Selena, Jackie and myself back in East Finchley after End of Days, a trip where I discovered that, while my car might be big enough for 4 airsofters and full skirmish loadout (weapons, webbing, ammo etc), it was inadequate for 4 con-goers with costumes!
Selena, Heather and myself at Bitten 2003 (part of my habit of trying to get a Terra Nostra expeditionary force photo for every con/event we go to!)
I guess there's not a whole lot else I can say other than that Selena was a truly wonderful person and that I shall miss her dreadfully.