Terrouge E-zine Archives
Tribute from Erin
Josh, it seems so surreal to be writing this. I feel like I’m still asleep… People I know don’t die. People like you shouldn’t die. In a lot of ways, it makes me feel as though I ought to rage against the lack of justice… You didn’t deserve this. We need you here. We love you.
But, at the same time, I can’t help but think that maybe it was your time—that God needed your help up there more than we needed you down here. I was talking to Roxie… She told me that you had told her that the past few months have been the best time of your life. In a conversation with me a week or two ago, you’d said that you’d recently reconnected with God. And, just this weekend, I’ve felt—something—with me. Pointing out the things I need to see. Telling me, like you always told me, that I am capable of achieving my dreams. Even before I was told what had happened, I had this feeling, this confidence that “Yes. I can write novels.” Not “Maybe I can,” but “I can.”
I believe in saints.
Yeah, I know, don’t tell me—you weren’t perfect. I know it, Josh, but you tried your best. You always did. Saints aren’t perfect… They just love God and love the world.
They say you don’t know what you have until you don’t have it anymore. I’m going through my stuff… No one else calls me Aerin-sol, Josh, or at least they don’t understand what they mean if they do. I’m going to miss that. I’m going to miss discussing books with you, miss coming up with dastardly plots to fiendishly trick the unsuspecting denizens of the web into enjoying reading. I’m going to miss reading your writing, and I’m going to miss your excellent suggestions and encouragement on my own. The e-mail you sent me during the ROC:S writing competition, about how you thought I was doing… I will keep those words close to heart always. I can’t remember if I ever told you how many times I pulled out that worn print-out and re-read it when I was stuck, or how it always helped me when I did. I wish I was sure I that I had expressed my profound gratitude.
And I’m not sure I ever truly thanked you for taking me on at Terrouge. You would probably just shrug it off if I did, saying that you hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary, but that’s not true. I wasn’t a good writer when I joined Terrouge. I was, if I was lucky, a decent writer, a producer of passable prose. I really wanted to be better, but I didn’t know where to start.
Josh gave me that place. In the two years I worked for him as a reporter, chief reporter, and co-editor, he helped me out and gave me opportunity to improve my writing and get it read. When he resigned in February of 2001, he gave me the reins, an awesome gesture of trust.
And yeah, I messed it up. My first couple months in charge were pretty rocky… I was trying to learn my responsibilities while performing them and I had a different editorial style than Josh, which didn’t initially sit well with some of the staff. I only found out today that Josh talked to some of the reporters privately to try to ease my way. Because of his letters, I can verify that I am now friends with at least one staffer who might otherwise have quit. Though I didn’t know, in retrospect I am not surprised. Josh was good at seeing the best in people, easing tensions, and getting things accomplished. He would have done excellently in the field of politics, and he wouldn’t have lost touch with what was important to him, as it is so easy for politicians to do.
Josh, I love you… not romantically, but in true friendship. It’s a funny thing to say, these days. I wish it weren’t. If I hadn’t thought I would be misconstrued or seen as odd, maybe I would have said it. I hope you could hear it anyway, written in the lines between my words when we wrote, echoing between the spaces in my laughs when we talked.
I want to close with a poem I wrote a while back when I was thinking about mortality. It’s been echoing through my head for the past few days, and bringing me comfort, and I hope it might for some of you too, because to be honest, Josh probably lived this better than I am. He was always striving to accomplish more, to do more, to help more, to be stronger, purer, a better friend…but in this ending, this new beginning, I find myself loving best the heart of Josh, the angel behind the achievements.
As long as I am loved
I cannot die.
For nothing that has ever been truly loved
Can ever be truly gone.
So I dream
(O prideful dream!)
That on the day that I leave this place
I leave--not a gap-- but a hole.
For a gap can be filled,
And none would ever know the difference
But a hole, though filled,
Is never the same.
So I dream
Of a glorious uniqueness:
To soar higher than eagles
To swim deeper than whales
To grow stronger than diamond
More constant than stone
To be swifter than cheetahs
To be wiser than stars
And more necessary than the sun.
To be loved for what I am.
Josh, as I remain, so shall some part of you.