Chloe

I first started hanging out with Chloe at An Event Apart Boston in 2011. We bonded over a shared love of The Go-Betweens amongst other things.

Chloe and me

It was very easy to be in her company. She was inspiring. Literally.

We became conference buddies. Whether it was Build, Brooklyn Beta, Indie Web Camp or New Adventures, we’d inevitably end up sitting next to each other. It didn’t matter how long it had been since we had last seen each other, it always felt like no time had passed at all.

Jeremy and Chloe at lunch Chloe & Jeremy Chloe and Jeremy attendees Brooklyn Beta Jeremy & Chloeamused by Al's stories

Jessica and I spent a day with Chloe and her dad Julius as they showed us around the real Williamsburg when we were in Brooklyn a few years ago. “The Jew Tour” Chloe called it. It was clear that Julius and Chloe had a wonderful relationship—they weren’t just father and daughter; they were best friends.

Jessica, Julius and Chloe

Chloe and I hacked together at Science Hack Day San Francisco last year. It was so much fun, and I know that Chloe found it very empowering. She even gave a demo in public, which was quite an achievement for her; I remember how terrified she was at the thought of just having to introduce herself at Indie Web Camp in Portland a few years back.

IndieWebCamp 2011

I won’t see Chloe again. Chloe killed herself.

When I heard the news, I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it.

Chloe and I would sometimes communicate online—email, IM, DMs on Twitter—but it was never quite the same as when we were together. I chatted with her just last week. I knew she was sad. I knew that she had many regrets. But I had no idea that she was contemplating suicide.

Now I wonder if there’s something I could have said. Or worse, what if I did say the wrong thing?

I think it’s only natural to look for these kind of causal relationships. “If only I had done X, I could have prevented Y.” But I suspect that the truth is not as simple as that. Still those questions haunt me.

But there’s also comfort. Seeing the overwhelming messages of grief and loss makes me realise how many people cared for Chloe. Even if you only met her briefly, you couldn’t help but be bowled over by her.

Smart, creative, funny, beautiful Chloe Weil.

I want to say how much I’ll miss her, but the truth is that I don’t think I’ve really grasped that she’s gone. I just can’t believe it.

Have you published a response to this? :

Responses

Eric Meyer

I’ve been trying to find a way to say this that doesn’t make it sound like I’m trying to make it about me, but here goes anyway: please, please don’t take on guilt over Chloe’s death. If I can let go of feeling guilt for Rebecca’s death, as I have, you can and must do the same for yourself and Chloe. Regrets, yes, too many and all valid—but not guilt. It hurts so much that she’s dead and gone, I know, but it’s not your fault. It’s not. Don’t take that on. The pain of her absence is far more than too much to deal with. Please don’t make it worse.

Which goes for all her friends, not just you, but you’re the first I’ve seen ask if you’re somehow responsible. You’re not. None of you are.

# Posted by Eric Meyer on Thursday, July 10th, 2014 at 4:57pm

Arianne Stiles

Survivor guilt is a cruel thing and tends to sneak up on me at the worst times. Now that I know what it is, that it is something real and a common part of the grieving process, it doesn’t hurt as much. This is what I hope for you, Jeremy, and for Petra.

Petra Gregorová

Jeremy, not having Chloe among us anymore is definitely something so many will struggle to accept for some time. I’m trying not being mad at myself that I may have failed her in some way as a friend. That I shouldn’t just assume that the time will heal her pain. All I hope now for her that she can feel all the love from everyone coming her way, as we try to all share how we’ve always felt about her. She adored and looked up to you from the moment she met you. Not to mention, you two were truly passionate trivia masters. Loved and still do that about you two. In fact, I always referred to you two as walking encyclopedias, and for a good reason :)

Kartik Prabhu

I met Chloe at IWC-2014-East. She was very sweet, really funny and most helpful! I distinctly remember thinking, “I should hang out with her more…”

robinrendle.com

Plymouth, UK

11 July 2014

Chloe From a distance across an ocean, across a network, what inspired me about Chloe was her unrelenting curiosity and kindness. Through her writing I began my little hobby of making playlists every month whilst thinking about owning, as she put it, those “representations of me” on other services. We exchanged a few messages between one another but I held back because I didn’t want to sound like a crazy person who was obviously infatuated with her work. However, it was strange when she replied to this gawping praise, imagine a hero of yours looking down from a stage and high-fiving you out of nowhere. Within ten seconds of conversation she would make me feel as if we were both peers or as if I was just as smart, competent and passionate as she was. I wanted to impress Chloe because thinking that she might be on the other end of a long series of tubes and wires acknowledging my work and pointing me in the right direction, that’s nothing short of inspiring. Her presence encouraged me to write more eloquently, to sharpen my focus, and to try to return the favour. So naturally I believed that at some point in the near future, during a conference somewhere, I’d somehow manage to rustle up the courage and interrupt her – “I LOVE your work!” – though now I think she’d be much more comfortable talking about Nick Cave or yarn or POSSE than accept my compliment. The saddest part is that I cannot say goodbye to Chloe because we never met in person. For that you’ll need to read from her close friends like Jeremy or Andy: Chloe Weil tasted words. She was vulnerable to rich emotional experiences in the summertime. She hated her birthday, and she hated surprises. She had a cat named FACE that was famous on Reddit for a day. She helped us listen to songs traveling across the stars.

Andy Baio, Chloe

# Friday, July 11th, 2014 at 12:46pm

Bridget McDonough Stewart

I’m terribly sorry for your loss, Jeremy. I know how much admiration you had for Chloe. I feel incredibly fortunate to have met her in Boston and remain connected to her, mostly through Petra. Earlier this summer I spent time reading through her site, drawn there to better grasp how she was implementing POSSE. I read through many of her other writings and felt very tangibly that I knew Chloe much better as a result of what I found there. I love how much she shared as well as what she left open for the reader to draw their own conclusions. Her style made it feel like a conversation just happened, even though I didn’t say or write anything in return. I hadn’t realized until now how far Chloe’s light shined. We’re fortunate to have known her at all. She clearly touched many people’s hearts and minds.

rudigermeyer.com

I wanted to write to her telling how much I had enjoyed her site and how sad I was that it was no longer available. When I finally got round to writing that email two days later, I noticed that the site was somewhat open again and, to my surprise, included a note that she was “tickled” to be mentioned in an article that I had written. I was even more surprised (and delighted) when she explained in her reply to my email that it was in fact my article that had encouraged her to open up her site again.

I was encouraged not only by the fact that the article was getting around a bit1 but also by the realization that it was, in its own small way, making some kind of impact in the world. I was touched that something I had written played a part in sustaining and encouraging the activities of someone I admired. It seemed to show how the world really is shaped by what we give our attention to.

What I didn’t realize was that Chloe’s doubts ran far deeper than I ever could have imagined. I’m still trying to process the news that she decided to take her own life.

We exchanged a few emails after that first point of contact. I asked her for permission to use a snippet of one of her texts in a piece I’m working on, which she happily agreed to. She helped out with a link to another text, the source of which had been eluding me.

It’s difficult to grasp that there won’t be any more posts from Chloe ticking in on my RSS feed. There won’t be any more emails. For all the brevity2 of our contact there is a deep sadness that she is no longer with us, that she decided to end her life when she had so much to offer. It feels as if there’s a hole in the world, as Jeremy has written.

I knew Chloe mainly through her site. I really enjoyed it’s personal tone. In a world filled with slick parallax designs it spoke to me. Her texts were beautifully crafted. She took care with the details. She used simple web technologies in an original way. The delightful blog post that was the beginning of what was to be her last talk, for example. She considered accessibility – there were audio tracks accompanying each article. Even in the “downtime” when her storefront was closed she made sure that the URL’s to her previous posts remained intact. Her indieweb approach inspired me to investigate that avenue myself.

I keep thinking that the world needs more Chloe, not less.

Even though collecting ones thoughts and honing them through the act of writing has great value in itself, the doubts about investing so much time and energy in something read by (what seems to be) only a handful of people sometimes nevertheless sneak in. 

Perhaps the curious synchronicity of her reading my article more or less at the same time as I was reading her “closed” notice added something to the exchange that followed. The reversal of setting about writing a note of encouragement and in turn finding oneself encouraged. 

# Wednesday, July 16th, 2014 at 12:00am

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# Liked by Simon Collison on Thursday, July 10th, 2014 at 8:07pm

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