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In which John remembers nerdfighter Esther Earl, who was his friend and also a friend to all of nerdfighteria.


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A Bunny
( - -)
((') (')
Good morning Hank, it's Friday.

Esther Earl, the nerdfighter who inspired a lot of Nerdfighteria's recent world-suck decreasing projects died earlier this week. She was sixteen.

Esther was a great friend to many people in Nerdfighteria and a great friend to me personally, and for a long time she has been a huge part of the life of the nerdfighter community, and our community, in turn, was a huge part of her life. Her best friends were nerdfighters. Here you can see her nerdfighter friends giving her a scrapbook that includes notes and drawings from hundreds of nerdfighters.

Hank, Esther was an amazing kid. She was astonishingly empathetic, she was really thoughtful, she was very funny. But she wasn't an angel, or a model of perfection or anything; she was a person, she was a teenager. She answered Formspring questions like, "Do you have names for your butt cheeks?" with "not as of yet but that is a good idea????"

But she also wrote tweets like, "words aren't overwhelming me they're just going into my brain and I contemplate them and then I decide I don't need them so I throw them away." It was with Esther that the nerdfighter community came together and helped the Harry Potter Alliance win $250,000.

And Hank, it was because of Esther that on Esther Day I told you that I love you. Which I do, although I don't wanna talk about it.

And even though Esther has died we will continue to do projects with her because it will be when we work to decrease world-suck and when we show our love for others that Esther will be with us most.

So Hank, as you know, before I wrote books, I worked as a chaplain at a children's hospital, and when I was there my supervisor always used to tell me, "John, don't just do something. Stand there."

We all want to do something to mitigate the pain of loss or to turn grief into something positive, to find a silver lining in the cloud. But I believe there is real value in just standing there. Being still, being sad, bearing witness to Esther's life and allowing ourselves to be transformed by it.

Esther talked to me about that when I saw her a couple months ago in Boston. She talked about how she believes that the dead live on in the memory and the lives of those they have touched.

But there is something, in this case, that we can do. If you're so inclined you can give to the Friends of Esther fund, a fund that goes directly to her family to help them to deal with the many expenses that were incurred during her care.

There's a link in the doobly-doo to give. There's also links to Esther's Twitter account and to her YouTube account. She was vlogging throughout much of the last month, and her vlogs are hilarious and charming and very touching.

So Hank, on Monday Vlogbrothers videos will again start looking Vlogbrother-y and I will do my punishment on Wednesday. By the way, thanks to everyone who participated in the birthday video. That was just, thahh, gaahhh.

But we will continue to be inspired to do big things to make the world suck less with Ester.

Esther means "star", and her friends had a bracelet printed up that reads, "This star won't go out." And it won't. We won't let it.

Hank, I'll see you on Monday.

One quick story about Esther: So we were all answering questions that were written on a soccer ball, and that question Esther got was "What would you tell your younger self if you could go back in time and speak to her?"

At first she was like-

Esther: Hold on, I'm helping Abe.

John: But then she did answer the question, and her answer is, I think, a nice reminder to all of us.

Esther: Maybe I would say that your family is, like, important.

Abe: Okay?

Esther: I dunno. Okay.

John: Esther, my friend, Godspeed.