Quote of the day: "He who would travel happily must travel light."- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
It's funny to start a letter like that; not just for the cliche implication but because I always think of the show Dear John starring Judd Hirsch. Somehow I think you'd appreciate that reference. I'm sorry I haven't written until now... to be perfectly honest, I feel guilty because I feel you deserve some big, wonderful post full of meaning and nostalgia, but I haven't been able to write things like that lately. I guess I'll just spit some stuff out.
I think the strongest feelings I have is that I wish I'd been a better friend to you, followed closely by how badly I wish you'd had a better ride on this planet. When I first started reading your blog back in 2003... actually it was probably 2002 because I was on Blogdrive and reading some blogs before I even started Battle Ready... my first impression was how impressed I was with your blog. It looked sharp and professional for a blog (especially in 2002) and it felt so... legitimate. The style with which you wrote and interacted with people was honest, forthright, respectful, and very logical.
As I got to know you through the years, all of those first impressions were reinforced, over and over again. I don't know if I've ever effectively relayed to you just how much I respect you as a person and as a man, John. Remember back when the forums were a warzone of unhappy Blogdrivers and random disagreements and squabbles? I always craved the conflict, but I was confused (in a truly impressed way) by how not only could you avoid being disrespectful, but even while others would trash you and the blog service we love and volunteer for, you'd continue to treat them with dignity and offer help.
I wish I'd told you how big of an impact you've had on the best parts of me. Through the years, even when I was at the height of my know-it-allness, you continued to teach me things I didn't even know that I didn't know. When blogging would fade in and out of my life, you continued to reach out and share things with me, even including me in blog projects and things that I otherwise would have had only a passing interest.
I realize how much I'd taken you for granted as a friend, John. I'm so sorry. I could see as your life became more difficult and you embarked on what would be your last journey here, but I never dreamed it was really as it was. Even as I found out that your situation was more dire than I'd imagined, I still took you for granted. I guess I just assumed you'd be fine. I wish so much that I'd reached out to you more. I don't know if you ever knew how much you meant to me, because I'm sure I didn't try hard enough to tell you, but I truly believe that I can tell you now. I miss you man, and I love you. Thanks for being my friend and mentor over the years. I hope you're having an amazing journey wherever you are now, and I look forward to reconnecting with you when I get there. Hopefully you can show me the ropes there, too.
All My Best,