Chloe

So yesterday wasn’t just one of those bad dreams that you’ll get to eventually wake up from after all? I so wish it was.

I still can’t make peace with the fact, and honestly not sure if I ever will, that Chloe Weil is no longer with us. She was a daughter, sister but also a friend to so many of us. Oh, and what an amazing friend she has been, which trying to comprehend all of this makes it all that much harder. I was never good with words, especially when trying to make a point. There is no point to be made here, other than I just want to share why this loss is so hard to cope with, and not just for me but so many of those whose lives Chloe has touched over the years of her life.

With Chloe

One of our many foodie adventures

Chloe was a young soul with the most beautiful and most infectious smile one could ever see. She was so incredibly smart and creative. I don’t even think there was anything she couldn’t do. Her hands would sew or knit some mind-blowing pieces. She also knew her way in kitchen quite well as she was very much a foodie. If you ever wondered what’s the place to go to eat, Chloe would not only tell you but I could guarantee that you’d be addicted to that place afterwards. I’ll never forget the day when we were walking on NW 23rd in Portland. As we were crossing the street, she screamed out loudly, “Oh my God!” that I just jumped all freaked out thinking that we were about to get hit by a car or something. Come to find out, she noticed that few days later, a second location of Salt & Straw was going to open. I’ve never been nor heard of it till then. She raved about how amazing their ice cream was and so thanks to her, unintentionally I ended up becoming their first customer at that very same location, but also have become completely hooked. Chloe would also cook, bake and even make lollipops. Oh, and she was so great with words. Chloe also made me an apron for my birthday, as well designed this very same website.

Spiderwomen with Chloe in first row at AEA

First row at AEA Boston in 2011 with Chloe and my fellow Spiderwomen
Photo credit: Jeffrey Zeldman

I met Chloe back in 2010 when she joined our front-end team at ISITE Design in Portland, which made me super excited for not being the only female in our tech department anymore. She joined our team as a junior but damn, she was improving and getting all caught up to all of us faster than one would think. At first, she was very shy and seemed very much introverted. Yet, we clicked and it didn’t take very long before we became super close and slowly started to learn how much in common we had. Somehow, we became very comfortable around each other and would open up and share pretty much everything together. I don’t think there was anything off limits, and I loved that. We could talk for endless hours about anything – work, boys or life in general. Looking back, we especially bonded in Boston where I convinced her to come to An Event Apart with me. I am so glad she did and I know she was too. As much she hated the idea at first, I also made sure she would sit with me in first row. She has told me countless times how that week was one of her best and most fun ones that she will never forget about. We even talked about it the last time I saw her when she was in Boston, a little over .

Our Wolverine

Chloe’s signature pose

Even though we had a great time spending the day together walking around the city, grabbing a bite to eat, drink some coffee and sharing many laughs, it was also very hard to see her so lost and sad about so many things. As always, I tried to be there for her by listening, providing any comfort or support that I knew I could as she has done for me so many times before. I knew she was sad but thought it would pass with time, that time would heal if not all, at least most of it. We were talking about visiting each other, go on road trips as we used to do when we both used to live in Portland. I just never thought that I’d never have more moments with her like we’ve had to date. All I can say that she wasn’t the only one to be lucky have known her and be part of my life.

I wish I could or knew how to read the signs and just be more proactive. It brings me back to earlier this year when I told myself that I need to work on unplugging from my dependency on social media and try to be more physically connected with the world around me. I felt like I’ve made such progress but after yesterday, I realized that I have so much further to go. Now, even more so I am mad at myself that on , I didn’t pick up the phone to call her to wish her happy birthday and say all the things I wanted to say over the phone rather than just a text. I don’t even know why nor what I was doing by being so darn busy that I couldn’t just get back to her when besides thanking me, she asked me whether I was doing well. And I completely spaced out ever getting back to her. 🙁

text

Those who know me, know that I don’t really say “I love you” a lot, or very rarely. It’s not because I don’t love anyone but I believe that love could be better demonstrated by actions we do for others and how we treat each other. Words can easily become so meaningless when overused and actions don’t match up with the things that have been said. The one thing that brings a little comfort to me right now is that the last time I saw Chloe and when we said goodbye to each other, we gave each other an immense hug and I actually told her “I love you, sweetie!”, and I totally meant every little bit of it.

There are just countless things I loved and admired about her that I don’t know even where to begin. She was such a giver and always had the perfect words of comfort or wisdom to provide when you needed it the most. All I know that I am going to miss the little things that made her so special and unique to me. The way she would use her hands when she was talking to you especially about something she was super excited about. OMG, and her signature pose!!! I am going to miss our little banters about our crushes, her bluntness and not being afraid to give me some tough love when needed. She was like my little sister that I’d do anything for to see her smile again. She was that person that I’d volunteer without hesitation to help her to work on a project before a deadline over a 4th of July weekend, not just so she wouldn’t feel overwhelmed or because she would do the same for me, but because I did enjoy any given time I could have with her.

Food carts for Chloe's lunch with FED

Run to food carts during lunch break with fellow FEDs, Christoph and Devin

Chloe had her insecurities, like so many of us do. She wouldn’t hide them but, she’d make fun of them and openly shared them with rest of us. I don’t think she ever realized or wanted to believe that people that have ever met her, couldn’t help to not feel drawn to her. That the room would literally lit up when she walked in with that smile and bubbly personality of hers. Some of my coworkers, after I shared the news with them, wrote me back how they’d remembered her and shared some of their favorite moments or encounters with Chloe that they’ve had. Just like this one:

One time, she sent out an email saying she had to leave early for emergency dental work. I ran into her on the sidewalk on my way back from lunch and asked, “Are you you okay?”

She said, “This is just how my face looks.”

I said, “No… The dental work.”

“Ooooh. Yeah. Just a filling came out.” Or something. It was funny.

I am sure that anyone that has ever met Chloe may have similar stories to share and please do so whether it’s with your friends, family or even here with me. Her sense of humor was so witty, sometimes a little dark or quirky but that was all that made Chloe so unique, special and very much unforgettable to all of us. She was our Wolverine.

  • Jeremy Keith

    Petra, you were the best friend that Chloe could possibly have. You were always there for her. She loved you so much.

    Thank you for writing this. Thank you so much for everything you did for Chloe. Thank you.

  • Thank you for writing this, Petra. I think it was that 2011 AEA in Boston where I met you both. I’ve been thinking a lot about cultivating fewer deep relationships instead of more shallow ones, thanks for the heartfelt reminder.

    • Thank you, Jesse. Yes, AEA Boston in 2011 was the one where it all began and so many of us finally met in person after being social buddies for who knows how long. That week was truly an epic one that I’ll never forget.

  • Bridget Stewart

    You’ve paid her a lovely tribute, Petra. You are a good friend and it is clear that Chloe recognized it. I wish there was something I could say to bring you comfort, but I know that words won’t help much right now. You’re in my thoughts, friend.

    • Having met you and you being my friend is more than I could ask for. Chloe has adored you, as well as the Brads. Whenever she knew I’ll see you, she told me to say hi to you. Thank you again for being my friend. xxx

  • AEA Boston was a big bond for a lot of us. I got closer to a lot of you because of those days. Chloe was amazing and she was lucky to have you as a friend. You have such a big heart. Thinking of you <3

    • Thank you, my sweet Candi. I still think we need to all move to Nerdville and live close by to each other. Miss you and thank you for being a friend to me as well. x

  • M.

    I only met Chloe recently – I am utterly devastated by this news, I can’t quite believe it. The last time I had contact with her was only this last Sunday, and last week we shared drinks and laughter. I can’t believe it – she had so much to offer the world, why does this happen to the most beautiful people? I can’t say this anywhere else, but I miss you Chloe, I wish you were still here.

    • It’s impossible to not miss her. Thank you for sharing. Take care of yourself.

  • Michael Linden

    I didn’t know Chloe Weil.
    I ‘found’ her via a photo credit on an image that popped
    up while doing some research on a personal project this past spring.

    On Friday, 18 April, 2014 at 13:09, Michael Linden wrote:
    Hello Chloe Weil –
    My name is Michael Linden. I am a ‘boomer’ husband and
    father of three living and working in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St
    Paul, Minnesota. I’m writing to you today to ask for permission to use one of
    your photographs. Long story short – I’m making a CD. A collection of
    studio demo’s – most written produced and recorded 20 years ago. Call it my
    ‘bucket-list’ project. I’m just going to give copies to friends and family – also want my kids to know this part of me someday.
    I was putting a few ideas together and came across
    your “Last Days of Disco” photograph via Google search – ‘your parents disco’ –
    or something like that. I used your photo as an example to illustrate the feel
    I wanted for the CD cover. Now – I’ve fallen in love your image. I’ve read the
    backstory you provided on your blog which only adds to its’ appeal. This
    specific ‘moment-in-time’ is warm. It’s funny, tender, melancholy all at the
    same time. It’s nostalgic. It’s timeless. May I put your picture on my record?
    I’ve attached a draft of what it may look like.
    Whatever you decide – it’s a fantastic photograph and
    I appreciate you posting it for me (and the world) to enjoy! Thanks
    Michael Linden

    Total shot in the dark! I really wasn’t expecting to
    hear back from anyone, but I did! 11 minutes later I ‘met’ Chloe for the first
    time.

    From: Chloe Weil [mailto:me@chloeweil.com]
    Sent: Friday, April 18, 2014 1:20 PM
    To: Michael Linden
    Subject: Re: can almost hear the Bee Gees
    Hi Michael,
    Thanks for reaching out, and for asking permission. Of course you can use the photo!
    I’m glad you like it. It’s literally the only time my parents have ever been happy ever 🙂
    Let me know if you need anything else.
    Best,
    Chloe

    Right then, it became important to me that she like it – or at least not think it silly.

    From: Michael Linden
    Sent: Friday, April 18, 2014 1:39 PM
    To:’Chloe Weil’
    Subject: RE: can almost hear the Bee Gees
    Thank you so much – that’s great!
    Probably going to be a month or so, but if you give me an address, I’d be happy to send
    you the finished product (with your credit). Just for fun!
    Michael

    Chloe did provide her NY address – but I lost/deleted it. I imagined that Chloe might get a little kick out of an album credit.

    On Friday, 2 May, 2014 at 16:27, Michael Linden wrote:
    Hi Chloe –
    Want to check with you regarding your photo credit before we go to print.
    Preference?
    Cover Photo “The Last Days of Disco” by Chloe Weil
    Cover Photo “The Last Days of Disco” used with permission of Chloe Weil
    Or, something else perhaps…?
    Lemme’ know – thanks
    Michael Linden

    From: Chloe Weil [mailto:me@chloeweil.com]
    Sent: Monday, May 05, 2014 11:52 AM
    To: Michael Linden
    Subject: Re: can almost hear the Bee Gees
    Hey there,
    How about Cover Photo “The Last Days of Disco” used with permission of Chloe Weil,
    as I didn’t actually take the photo 🙂
    Best,
    Chloe

    Silly or no – she had her preference. She made her choice. Chloe was… involved. I hoped she was
    kind of enjoying this.

    On Wednesday, 7 May, 2014 at 13:04, Michael Linden wrote:
    Will do.
    Last question – would you like to include a URL for people who want to know more about Chloe Weil?
    Michael Linden

    From:
    Chloe Weil [mailto:me@chloeweil.com]
    Sent: Wednesday, May 07, 2014 2:12 PM
    To: Michael Linden
    Subject: Re: can almost hear the Bee Gees
    Hm, I don’t think that’s necessary. Let’s keep people guessing 🙂

    Well, the project dragged on, as projects often do. 10 weeks after our last communication I
    reached out to Chloe, again for her mailing address. What I really wanted her
    to know is that I hadn’t forgotten, that it was still happening and she would see for herself very soon.

    From: Michael Linden
    Sent: Monday, July 28, 2014 10:36 AM
    To: ‘me@chloeweil.com’
    Subject: The Last Days of Disco
    Hello Chloe –
    Well, it’s taken a bit longer than I
    anticipated, but we are finally moving our little CD project toward completion.
    The design guys are putting the finishing touches on the package (starring your
    marvelous photo front & center), as we speak. As we discussed last
    April(!), I’m sending the finished project to you – but I don’t know what I did
    with the note you sent me with your mailing address…
    Would you mind sending, again?
    Michael Linden

    Last week, I went to Chloe’s website thinking perhaps that she had a new email address or updated contact info…

    I didn’t know Chloe Weil, yet my heart aches with the loss of a friend. Those of you who knew her and loved her… well, I just can’t imagine your… pain.

    The CD finally comes out today. I will think of her kindness and generousity every time I look at it.
    Lastly, I did find the email Chloe sent to me with her NYC address –
    I’m sending the very first copy to her. Thank you for letting my share this with you.

  • Chloe speaking about her brilliant “Our Julius Cards” [http://chloeweil.com/blog/our-ragged-history]

    “My brother and I are too maladjusted to want families of our own, so we wouldn’t point to this digital record and say, “This is who we are. This is what we came from.” But we could, if this weren’t the end of the family line.”

    As a total stranger, this gave me insight to the line she drew for herself. So sad, her works are timeless, she had some much to give!

    • So very true. She barely touched the tip of a iceberg of what she could do. She was like a rare gem that was gaining on its value with each and every day she was with us. I’d like to believe that in a way she still is.