Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Good Bye My Friend

Today my heart aches. I have spent the better part of the day trying to figure out just what I wanted to say in this post, what could come the slightest bit close to expressing the sorrow that I feel at losing my friend, David Thompson. There are not words to do it justice.

I "met" David a little over a year ago through social media and the crime fiction community. Then last October I was able to meet him in person. I will forever remember the very first time I saw him in person. He was speaking to someone and I was just going to wait until he was finished so I could say "hi." He looked up and caught my eye and asked whoever he was speaking to to excuse him a minute; then he walked over and wrapped me in a big hug. No, "do I know you?" No, "Are you Jen?" He just knew immediately and treated me as though we had known each other all our lives. That's the kind of person David was. He could make you feel as though your presence was the most important, your thoughts the most valued.

I so enjoyed chatting with David through Twitter or Facebook, IMs or e-mails. It made the thousands of miles between Cleveland and Houston almost vanish. We talked about books and authors and events. He introduced me to so many new books, and he'd let me run on and on about a book I was reading and it was never weird to him. He always had time. His enthusiasm fueled my enthusiasm; it was contagious. He so loved this community and the people in it. He loved connecting people with books, and he touched so many lives through his work both at Murder by the Book and his Busted Flush Press.

Just slightly older than me, David should have had many more years to connect people with books; he should have had many more years to share with his wife and all those who love him. But unfortunately, "should" doesn't always make it so.

In just a little more than a year, David left a big impression on my life. I'm a different and better person for having known him. As I continue to blog and be a part of the crime fiction community, it's my hope that I can honor him and what he stood for by singing the praises of the hidden gems, by connecting people with books, and by being the best friend I can be.

As I attempted to work out my anger at life today in the gym, I listened to R.J. Ellory's A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS. I listened as the narrator read in the most hauntingly beautiful tone:

"I wonder if somewhere there is a place that holds all these unfinished lives. Another plane, another world running parallel to our own, and there we will find the dead, picking up their incomplete lives and living them out."

Where ever my friend is now, he's talking up Reed Farrel Coleman, Daniel Woodrell, A.E. Maxwell, Don Winslow...Thank you, David. Thank you for your friendship. It is and always will be a priceless treasure.


Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick September 14, 2010 at 7:23 PM  

I am so terribly, terribly sorry to hear about your loss, and my heart goes out to you and to his family and friends. We can never truly understand how things happen and why they happen. I myself, just came back from a funeral of a close family member on my husband's side who passed away at the age of 47 from an unexpected heart attack last week. He has two teenage children, and I am left wondering why. As always, why? But, I know that since I can't answer that question, I have to think about and carry on the traditions and the love of the good people in the world who leave us too soon, and perhaps that is one way, albeit still not good enough, that all of the good ones can live forever.

Continue doing the same good work you always do on this amazing and beautiful blog. And I thank you so much -- I'm honored that you shared this part of your life with us.

Jon The Crime Spree Guy September 14, 2010 at 7:28 PM  

And now I'm crying again

Sam September 14, 2010 at 7:53 PM  

I didn't know David personally, Jen, but he steered me to many a new author and great book in the last two decades I spent shopping at Murder by the Book. He was amazing and will be greatly missed, I'm sure, by his friends and family...and the entire Houston book community.

Michelle Stockard Miller September 14, 2010 at 8:00 PM  

I got tears in my eyes as I read your post. I feel the same way about people I have met online and only hope I will get to meet some/all of them in person someday. I'm so sorry about your friend, Jen. May he RIP.

Naomi Johnson September 14, 2010 at 8:23 PM  

David was so loved by those of us who barely knew him, that I cannot fathom the enormity of his loss for those who knew and loved him best.

pattinase (abbott) September 14, 2010 at 8:34 PM  

Damn, is this day ever going to be over?

Janet Rudolph September 14, 2010 at 9:26 PM  

This day will never end. Very, very sad.

Meg Gardiner September 15, 2010 at 7:03 AM  

A lovely tribute, Jen. And so true.

Hilary Davidson September 15, 2010 at 8:04 AM  

This is beautiful, Jen. Thank you.

Jen Forbus September 15, 2010 at 8:07 AM  

Thank you all for your wonderful comments. The sense of isolation that overcomes me when someone I care about passes away never ceases to surprise me. You've helped make that a little less overwhelming. I can't even begin to imagine the sense of loss and emptiness his family is experiencing. I pray they are able to find peace in his wonderful memories.

Carla Buckley September 15, 2010 at 8:56 AM  

Thank you, Jen, for bringing David closer to those of us who knew him only fleetingly. What a wonderful man he was.

Meredith Cole September 15, 2010 at 12:13 PM  

Thank you for writing such a lovely tribute, Jen. David was a special part of our mystery community, and he will be sorely missed.

Jenn's Bookshelves September 15, 2010 at 3:02 PM  

What a lovely tribute. While I did not "know" David personally I feel I did know him after reading this post. I hope you can be comforted by knowing how many lives he touched, and will continue to touch. Sending big hugs your way.

Christine September 15, 2010 at 5:25 PM  

Well done, Jen. I'm sorry for the loss of your friend, sweetie.

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