A community united

Eric Meyer (a pioneer of the web standards movement) has lost his 6 year old daughter Rebecca to cancer. We remember her life with the hash tag #663399Becca for the purple she loved.

One of the things that I love most about working on the web is the open and supportive community. A community that exists among web professionals.

I know sometimes we have our differences and on other occasions a bad apple can leave us with a sour taste in our mouth. But it is a loving, sharing and encouraging community.

This is because of the example set by early community pioneers. People like Jeffrey Zeldman, Molly Holzschlag and Eric Meyer. Time and again these pioneers demonstrated how we should behave. They shared everything they learnt and worked hard to lobby on our behalf with major technology companies.

These people have been an inspiration to me. They have taught and given me so much and so it is hard when you see them struggling. I may not know them particularly well, but I feel like I do and I know that I owe them a debt.

Molly has become ill and the post she shares makes me weep for her. It has been great to see the community come together to raise funds for her medical care. Yet in the end I am left feeling helpless in the face of her suffering.

Now we see Eric enduring his own torments with the death of his six year old daughter Rebecca.

What must it be like to lose your six year old daughter? I can only imagine and weep for Eric and his family.

Once again I feel helpless to ease the pain. I do not know him well enough to be a support to him. I cannot even attend his daughter’s funeral which is happening tomorrow on the other side of the world. All I can do is sit here and cry. Cry at his loss. His lost daughter and her lost future.

It feels like a hollow and superficial tribute. But, Eric’s invitation to his daughter funeral asked people to wear purple. Rebecca loved purple. So today and tomorrow, even though I cannot attend the funeral, I can at least change my Twitter avatar to purple. At least that will mean that each time I tweet I will remember his pain and pray for the families healing.

It’s not much, but it is all I can think of.