For Chloe

We all grieve in different ways. We all find solace and comfort in different places.

There can be solace in walking. There can be comfort in music. Tears. Rage. Sadness. Whatever it takes.

Personally, I have found comfort in reading what others have written about Chloe …but I know Chloe would be really embarrassed. She never liked getting attention.

Chloe must have known that people would want to commemorate her in some way. She didn’t want a big ceremony. She didn’t want any fuss. She left specific instructions (her suicide was not a spur-of-the moment decision).

If you would like to mourn the death—and celebrate the life—of Chloe Weil, she asked that you contribute to one or both of these institutions:

  1. The Oregon Humane Society. This is where Chloe found FACE, her constant companion.
  2. The Internet Archive. Chloe cared deeply about the web and digital preservation.

If you choose to make a donation; thank you. It’s what Chloe wanted.

I still can’t believe she’s gone.

Have you published a response to this? :

Responses

Rachel Shillcock

I’m so, so sorry Jeremy. For you, for everyone that was so much closer to Chloe than I. I have my own fond memories of the couple of times we met. I’m so sad that I’ll never get to have more of these little experiences. But through small acts of kindness on her part, she left such an impression on me - as she did for many. Sending all my love to you, and to everyone else grieving so much for Chloe. x

Samantha Warren

I am so sorry, Jeremy. I didn’t know Chloe but she meant a lot to so many of my friends. My thoughts go out to you and everyone who was close to her.

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