Memory

Many people are remembering Aaron Swartz this week, even more than usual. It’s the one-year anniversary of his death today. The story is no cleaner than it was last year; there’s still no sense to be had. Officials are criticized but not punished. People who believe in his work are trying to carry that torch, take stands and do good work and collaborate with one another; people who knew him are privately mourning.

Standing in my kitchen tonight, feeling reflective and sad, I find myself thinking of all the others I’ve known as well. It will be the second anniversary of my friend and fellow writer Ben Yates’s death soon, so recent that his address is still in my Christmas card list, a great heartwrenching chasm for my pen to hover over as I check off names. I think of the others — the friends from childhood, the acquaintances from college, and the near-misses, the close calls, the nights in the hospital. The stories we do not tell.

Let us mourn for our friends, let us be compassionate to the mourners. Let us be kind to one another, in our work and our lives. We miss you.

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