Monday, July 20, 2009

In Loving Memory of Uleen Toovey aka Chroma

This past Saturday, one of our fellow Chat Team members, and our friend, died during a white water rafting accident. Uleen, known to most of us as Chromasmear, was dear to many of us, and we are all saddened by the sudden loss. Our hearts go out to her family in their time of grief.

Each of us remembers her for something. Whether it was her indomitable spirit when it came to fighting for the causes of animals, supporting shelters and rescues in an attempt to give them all a chance at finding a loving home, or her tireless work ethic and ideals toward perfection when it came to creating banners for our shops - working and re-working them as much as necessary so that we were happy with her work.

There is a poem, in Norse Canon that is called the Havamal, or Sayings of the High One. It is a collection of pithy, and not so pithy, advice on how to live an honorable life, and how to keep out of trouble. One of the best known verses to Norse Pagans (called Heathens), is

Cattle die, Kinsmen die,
one day you die yourself;
but the words of praise will not perish
when a man wins fair fame.

I was asked to write her memorial post, as I had talked to her quite frequently, both in late night chat, as well as off etsy. It has been hard for me to come up with something to say that I feel will remember her best, because this isn't only about my memories of her, but all of ours. Each of us knew her in our own way, had our own relationship with her. She was the voice of reason in the chat rooms, the one we could talk to when we needed to vent steam about our shops, someone to laugh with just to pass the time... So I would like to invite all of you to share your favorite memory of her here in this entry.

No matter how large or small a way, she touched our lives, however briefly, and while each of us will grieve her loss in our own ways, grief that is shared is lessened. By each of our words, by sharing our experiences of her, and with her, I believe that she will live on in each of us.

Her latest project was going to be a sampler box collection with the proceeds going to a local animal rescue. As that is no longer possible, her family is requesting that donations be given to our local animal shelters and rescues in her memory, so that her work of aiding these furbabies in need can continue.

No matter how you choose to memorialize her, to remember her, know that each thought shared, each gift in her honor, will keep her alive for us all. Below is a poem she wrote and published earlier this year.

You were never an outsider to us Chroma, and we all miss you, and wish you well on your journey.

The Outsider

I am the one you called strange,
You never tried to understand.
My determined apathy amused you,
Do you know how loneliness feels?
Your blows of cruel judgement would fire,
My shiny armour absorbed it all.
My soul scared from your attack,
A decade passes,
My soul still howls in pain.
You thought I was the slow one,
It is sad you couldn't comprehend.
Denial of all compassionate guilt,
Your small world shall never grow.
Just leave me in that far corner,
Your worth didn't earn one tear.
Your empty values rewarded you nothing,
Angry power you sought over me,
Never empowered your black world.
I am the one you called strange,
When it was you who sought emptiness.

Copyright ©2009 Uleen Ann Toovey

Another news article.

57 comments:

  1. wow i never really knew her but im sure shes resting peacefully

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  2. This is so sudden, and tragic. I will definitely miss her presence in Etsy chat and I am saddened by the fact that I never got to meet her in person.

    My heart goes out to her family,and to those who were with her when this accident occurred.

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  3. what a huge loss! Chroma you will be missed and always remembered fondly

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  4. Words can't express the pain felt from losing a friend. While I only met her through Etsy I am no less saddened by Uleen's passing. I know she is in a better place now even if it is not with us.

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  5. As a familiar face in the chat rooms, and someone who always had nothing but kind words for everyone... Chroma will be dearly missed.

    My condolences and heart goes out to her family and friends... I don't think she'll ever be forgotten.

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  6. She was so kind, open mind, lovely, intelligent person. She was always nice to everybody on chat room.

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  7. Very dreadful news. She was very sweet. I hope her family is doing as best they can in these hard times.

    XOXO

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  8. She was a wonderful person with a beautiful heart.

    She was a good friend and I will miss her terribly.

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  9. I'll miss seeing her smiling avatar in the chat rooms, she was a very kind and sweet young woman to all in the chat rooms. My heart goes out to her family.

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  10. I was busy all weekend and didn't enter a chat room until Monday evening..and what a shock I received. I was working with her on the gift bag project. I received the fabric last week to make the tote bags. If anyone is wanting to send twelve items to place in grab bags...we will try to sell them and all procees will go to an animal shelter in her name. If anyone else has any ideas...please let me know. Please contact me at: Kathy Marlow, 1104 Murray Point, Plattsmouth NE 68048. I think I am still in a state of shock at the news.

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  11. What a terrible loss, will miss seeing her beautiful face in her avatar on the chat room. What a tragedy. She was always helpful, always pleasant, always kind. Sadly missed Chromasmear...

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  12. I spoke with Uleen many times in chat. She was very sweet and kind. I think maybe we can take some solace in the fact that she died doing something she loved. I know we all will miss her. We can honor her by sharing our wonderful memories of her.

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  13. I didn't know ChromaSmear very well; but we always cheered each other when we would see each other in the room. I always posted a turtle that she had in her shop, which I liked a lot.
    For those who met her briefly, or for those who were close to her , we will all have a loving memory of Uleen.
    R.I.P Dear one;-)

    Mariette xox

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  14. Ah life is so fragile; I'll miss you Chroma....

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  15. I always saw her in the chat and she was always so friendly to talk to. I read her blog too. She will be missed.

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  16. She was one of the first people on etsy that engaged in conversation with me, and she had a great impact on me in the first few weeks I was on etsy. I was always happy to see her icon in the chat room because it was a familiar face for a newbie. I ended up buying some promotional stickers from her a couple of weeks ago and she worked very hard on them, even sending me an extra sheet because it had printed offset the tiniest little bit. Her dedication and hard work made her an inspiration and pleasure to work with. I am deeply saddened by her passing but will continue to think of her each time I use one of the stickers that she put her heart into. Rest in Peace, Uleen!

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  17. I chatted many times in chatrooms with Chromosmear. I posted her artworks, and was inspired by her. I will miss her.

    Here is a forum link on etsy related to this subject.

    http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6224471

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  18. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and loved ones, God only knows what they must be going through right now. This was terribly tragic and all too sudden.
    The heavens have called back one of it's angels too soon.

    We all miss you Uleen..,

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  19. I am in shock! I cant believe it. I know her through the many hours in the chat rooms. A beautiful women and greatly missed already.

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  20. I feel that she's always with us in chat room. I'll miss you. Rest in peace ChromaSmear.

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  21. I was in the chat rooms last night when someone came in and broke the news. I was shocked and saddened. Chroma was one of the sweetest, most helpful members I ever had the pleasure to chat with. She was usually the first (and sometimes only) one to say "hello" to me when I entered the chat rooms, which always made me feel so welcomed. She will be missed.

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  22. Chromasmear Chromasmear Chromasmear Chromasmear Chromasmear Chromasmear Chromasmear Chromasmear Chromasmear Chromasmear Chromasmear

    :o(

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  23. She will very much be missed! She was so wonderful in the chat rooms. My heart goes out to her family.

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  24. I This I don't have lot of words to desrice how sad im , she was so lovely person alwyes nice and give everyone great feeling .
    Yesterday i was spending my time think about her .
    We will miss you dear chroma :(
    R.I.P

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  25. I did not know this kind woman but I am sad that this earth lost such a great soul who took care of others whether human or furry. Her pure love for others is very evident in all these wonderful comments. May she rest in light and love and may her friends and family know peace.

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  26. She was always a wonderful presence in chat...I will miss her.

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  27. She was always helpful to everybody and we should carry on that legacy, she would love that! Uleen taught me many things on Etsy and I am a better person just for knowing her. She created my beautiful banner for my shop and I will treasure that forever! May you rest in peace Uleen. I will miss you sooooo much! It is so weird coming into chat every morning and not seeing you :(

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  28. I didn't know Uleen as well as my business partner, Amy did, but she always had a kind word to say to me in chat and we was a member of this team and I am very saddened by her loss. My thoughts are with her loved ones.

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  29. All my memories of her are good, but the fondest I recall is how she'd encourage everyone in the room to post favourites from a designated shop. She'd go through the whole room, giving everyone an equal opportunity, making you feel special. She really went out of her way to make you feel good.

    She is greatly missed.

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  30. Oh my goodness that is horrible! I loved her blog and even though I didn't know her personally she seemed like such a kind and sweet person. My heart and prayers go out to her family and friends.

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  31. Oh that's heartbreaking!! So sorry to all of you who knew her..sending prayers and calm to her family and friends. Namaste, Sarah

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  32. words can not express my pain and sorrow over chrom's passing we almost joined the same time i think she was about a month before me and have knowen her long time she was a wonderful kind hearted person and i will miss her a greal deal more than words can say.

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  33. She was an awesome person and I already miss her like crazy. I would never imagine that this would affect me as much as it has. It goes to show how truly wonderful she was. I know she is gone, but even in the past few days I see someone enter the chat and out of the corner of my eye I swear it was her. Some how I think I am going to wake up from a bad dream and she will be in chat twice because she had a sticky avatar. I cannot bring myself to delete the last convo I had from her and it is a reminder that I must continue the work I commited to doing with her. I will be donating to my local animal shelter in her honor.

    ChromaSmear you are loved and missed! RIP!

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  34. i feel the same way.. i keep looking at old convos with her.. i have a few emails too that i keep rereading like that will somehow make it not real. this hurts so much to lose a friend so lovely as she was. she was one of the nicest people i knew. she made my banner and my cards for me in my shop. she was making magnets for me too.. we will alway remember her. She touched the hearts of many people and she will not be forgotten.

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  35. While working as a funeral attendant, I took part in many funeral ceremonies.. This poem was one that stuck out amongst all others.. I thought it was fitting here:

    The Dash:

    I read of a man who stood to speak
    At the funeral of a friend

    He referred to the dates on her tombstone
    From the beginning to the end

    He noted that first came her date of her birth
    And spoke the following date with tears,

    But he said what mattered most of all
    Was the dash between those years

    For that dash represents all the time
    That she spent alive on earth.

    And now only those who loved her
    Know what that little line is worth.

    For it matters not how much we own;
    The cars, the house, the cash,

    What matters is how we live and love
    And how we spend our dash.

    So think about this long and hard.
    Are there things you’d like to change?

    For you never know how much time is left,
    That can still be rearranged.

    If we could just slow down enough
    To consider what’s true and real

    And always try to understand
    The way other people feel.

    And be less quick to anger,
    And show appreciation more

    And love the people in our lives
    Like we’ve never loved before.

    If we treat each other with respect,
    And more often wear a smile

    Remembering that this special dash
    Might only last a little while.

    So, when your eulogy is being read
    With your life’s actions to rehash

    Would you be proud of the things they say
    About how you spent your dash?

    © 1996 All Rights Reserved, Linda Ellis

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  36. RIP ChromaSmear

    So sorry your life has been cut so short.

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  37. A beautiful life, taken so young. She touched many of us, even if only thru a post.

    Prayers for her family and friends for she is in a far better place.

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  38. ChromaSmearChromaSmear, I will miss you deeply. I will miss our daily chats, our topical conversations, seeing your familiar and comforting avatar, your spirit, your presence, your compassion for shared experiences...
    Thank you for being a part of my crafty world. I shall continue to think about you and keep you in my memory.
    StoliGal xx

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  39. Chroma was always a joy in chat, cracking jokes, making me smile and talking graphics with me :) I hadn't gotten to talk to her muchi n the past month or so as life has kept me away from chat. She will be immensely missed.

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  40. Thank you so much for creating this tribute to Chroma... Apparently She lived life to the fullest.
    Her untimely death is a reminder that life is short and we should never take a moment for granted.
    Rest in Peace, Chroma. You will be missed.

    Traci (TBSCreations)

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  41. ChromaSmearChromaSmearChromaSmearChromaSmear

    I miss you my dear. I miss your sweet smiling face. I miss your consistently-stuck avatar. I miss your patience with people, that I do not always have. I miss you always trying to organize something fun and/or positive for us chatters or for those in need. I wish more people were like you.

    I keep checking your twitter, hoping that you've written a recent update... but that last update is consistently stuck on July 17th. I keep waiting for you to write back to me. I keep hoping to find out that it was all a mistake, that you're still here with us.

    Chroma, I love you and I miss you.

    And for those of you who are interested, more dedications can be found here: http://notsoshabbychicshop.blogspot.com/2009/07/in-memory-of-uleen-toovey-aka.html
    Please visit and comment if you wish.

    Love, Rebecca/NotSoShabbyChic

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  42. Chromy chromie

    She was my buddy. ALWAYS one to lend a helping hand even if she was busy at work. She had a loving soul and wanted to help the world. Superwoman. One of my favorite memories is when she would go on random facts.com and read all them to us in the chats because we were so bored. She always had something intelligent to say. I miss you dearly and no you are still looking down on us. You were and are amazing my friend! And missed terribly. You have changed many lives including mine and will continue to do so. MUCH LOVE MY BUDDY CHROMY :)

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  43. Wow I was camping, got home packed up the packages ready to mail them tomarrow. Shot Ula a convo and signed on to chat. I asked has anyone seen Chroma, no answer. Then two of my chat friends saw my avatar and came in to tell me. Ive cried all day. I miss her so much. My computer is full of her art work she did for me. My bikini bee makes me smile. The box that is addressed keeps looking at me. What if i mess up my hair again? Where is my friend? She was always there for my shortcommings. Our Chat team will never be the same with out that one extra face smiling back at us. The young face of reason. So mature for her age. She made babies out of us older not so wise ones. If it had been anyone else there im sure she would of been in the paper as the one who saved the life. So strong, so protective of her friends and family. Her family must be a great one to have such a gem come into our lives from it. Blessings to you, I miss you my friend. Your family is in my prayers. I love you, Suebee

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  44. I was so shocked when I learned of what had happened to Ula. I left the chat room immediately as I could not comprehend that she was no longer with us.
    My thoughts turn to her family now.

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  45. I love you Chroma RIP you where so kind to me in the chats
    I will always remeber you !!!!!!!!!!!:( I will miss you!

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  46. she was my first etsy friend
    I will always miss her

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  47. What a beautiful young woman, snatched from life in her prime. To her family and friends, may you all be blessed with strentgth and courage.
    Elaine and Elana
    FELT 4U

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  48. This was a lovely post. I'm so sorry everyone who knew her. Even if only from Etsy chat. She will be missed dearly.

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  49. so sad to hear of her death... my prayers are with her family and friends.

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  50. I just got back from vacation and learned of this....

    I want to write something meaningful on here, but I'm pretty broken up over this. Despite only knowing Uleen over Etsy, I felt like she was a friend. She will be deeply missed. She was lovely.

    My thoughts go out to her loved ones. RIP ChromaSmear.

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  51. My prayrs and heart go out to her family in this sad time.

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  52. Noble Waterfall CreationsAugust 4, 2009 at 1:19 PM

    i have seen her many times in the chats. i am stunn and saddened at this and my prayers and well wishes go out to her family.

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  53. OMG! i just got a convo and had no idea this had happened. What a truely sad loss. I'll miss you hun! So much!

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  54. Uleen, your in my thoughts and prayers...I will miss you!! Rest In Peace Uleen!!

    I want to share this wonderful poem...

    Light a candle for those we mourn. Into a new life they will be born. Do not look for them at the gravesite. They are somewhere else radiating their beautiful light. They have gone to a new world where there is no darkness, no pain. Their light and essence will always remain. Light a candle for those who have left this mortal place. They are free to travel through time and space. When we think of them, they are near. When we sit in a beautiful garden. Their voices we hear. When we listen to a divine symphony, We close our eyes, their faces we see. Light a candle for they have not really gone. With each flickering flame, in your hearts they will always belong.
    © A.Pell 24/08/2005

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  55. I knew her from Etsy. She was a really nice girl. We'd spend some time in chats together. Buying or working...was always nice to see her or chat with her in the room. You will be missed. So sorry you were taken so young from your friends and family. It just doesn't seem fair. I hope you are in a better place- resting peacefully.

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  56. I know this Uleen passed away a bit ago, but I'm just finding out about her passing. What a shocking loss for everyone.

    I only knew Uleen from chatting with her in Etsy. Uleen was kind enough to give me a hand setting up my Etsy store. She displayed amazing patience and generosity while working with me.

    I give her the highest praise and wish her well on her journey. I bet she's helping someone now where ever she is.

    Matt Hamilton

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