Hello! Hi to dear friends, colleagues, and those of you who knew Chris and whom I haven't yet had the pleasure to meet.
Since Chris's death four months ago, I have been speaking with some mutual friends and reflecting myself on the best options for any sort of gathering or memorial.
My goal was always to hold an event that offers a chance to spend time in person with others who knew Chris and want to share their feelings on his life and death. One that, in having it, offers an opportunity for a bit of closure, a moment of coming together. Not to celebrate him or ritualise/bolster his legacy. Simply to acknowledge that for many people, his presence and work did affect their lives in strong and complex ways, and for some it might be helpful to have an event to mark that in some way.
My first priority, however, is to not do or host anything that might cause more pain. And after hearing from people over the last few months, that's why I'm writing this question & invitation.
The time elapsed since his death has mostly been to give people time to process a flood of information about his life and death, without having an event people might have felt pressured or rushed to attend. It is also in keeping with my own family traditions regarding the distance between a funeral and a memorial service, which is held in order to allow for private grief, seeking out more intimate conversations, and perusing personal modes of reflection.
I know that many, many moments of private reflection and conversations have happened between hundreds of people - a number of whom I don't know and/or have no way to contact directly. I would not want to exclude anyone simply because they knew Chris at a time I did nor or because (due to the seizure of Chris's technology and accounts) I have no way to reach them.
For some, I understand that the very presence of any gathering might feel painful - even if they opted not to attend. I know some others find it painful that there has not been enough ceremony around his death, nor did K raise this question quickly enough.
Some close friends have very kindly tried to give me a better picture of how conversations and sentiments have been shifting the last few months. And I am very glad and comforted that it seems many people who knew Chris have been able to find ways to connect to mutual friends and colleagues over the last few months, especially during a pandemic.
In the end, I've decided that the best I can offer is this:
I am inviting anyone who would like to share their thoughts or requests with me about a memorial gathering (or lack thereof) to contact me at this email address:
If you’d prefer to have an audio/video/text conversation rather than write an email, please write this account and I’ll arrange something with you ASAP.
I created this address specifically for thoughts about Chris, people who want to connect or ask me questions about his life & death, business communications relating to his estate, and anyone who has input on his memorial.
That's in part for my own mental health and in part so that I hope you feel more welcome to share your feelings if you'd like - knowing you aren't intruding on my work or personal inbox/headspace.
Please share this with anyone who you know who may not be aware of/checking my blog space or Twitter. Again, I could send out a mass e-mail, but I would certainly miss people and also would probably upset some people who wish to be done thinking about CG. My hope is that by having this invitation in a public space, people can choose to engage with it - or with a link sent to them by a friend - or ignore it entirely.
That being said, I will ask that people with only aggressive/judgmental things to say - especially anyone who did not know Chris - not just use this address as a comments section. I can't do any more than I have done to make things right in the world and (though it is wild to me I have to say this) using me as a target for your fury at him won't do anyone any good. Who knows - some folks might do anyway, and I'll still be fine. After all the things I've been told and sent the last few months, though, I felt it was worth trying the disclaimer.
Thank you all for reading.
Thank you to those of you who have reached out and let me know your feelings over time - whether or not they've changed.
Thank you to everyone who has been gentle & patient with me as we all have navigated all this - during a very strange time in the world itself - together & apart.
In solidarity and grief,