I was there at the start!
I saw its afterbirth!
I am Member 17!
I am in the cult of mathowie!
On 12/11/2006, Leslie Harpold was found dead by her mother after not returning calls or showing up as she had promised at her mother's house. On 12/12/2006, people started gathering at MetaFilter to attend an online wake in her memory.
It's hard when anyone you love dies. It's harder when they die young, and suddenly, and far away from you. She was in Michigan, I was in California. I had known Leslie for so long that I don't even know how long it was, now. We were friends almost immediately, and she recognized things in my character and about me that I would never admit to myself. And she kept secrets, and she made people meet each other, and she knew what to say.
I've revisited that thread every December. It reminds me about what it means to be a good person, and to have people love you who never even met you, and to keep pressing on even when you really don't want to anymore.
Leslie shared so much of herself online that it seems fitting that the most emotional and heartfelt funeral occurred there, too. Everyone attended, and everyone spoke. There was no body to remind you that she was dead, there were only links to her words, reminders of her heart, and all the people who liked or loved her gathered for a moment in one place.