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.
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.
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.
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.
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.