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ltdiver

In Memory of Josh Whipple

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Thanks for posting that. I'd gone back and looked at what he'd posted, because the dz.com name looked familiar. I liked it, and liked him more with what you posted.

Each of us is a full person, each different, each valuable. Treasure your friends and family.

Wendy W.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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I didn't expect to be raising a glass for anyone Friday night, and am sad that I had to. Josh was a really good guy; smart, funny, and kind. The posts people are making in this thread are a small testament of what kind of man he was. He'll be missed.

Blues,
Dave
"I AM A PROFESSIONAL EXTREME ATHLETE!"
(drink Mountain Dew)

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Thank you for the kind responses. I really appreciate them.

A couple of months ago, Josh wanted a more "professional" email address for his resume. (Apparently 3ringheathen and uberheathen weren't looking great to potential employers) So I setup joshwhipple.com for him, on my servers so he could have the email address josh@joshwhipple.com. However, since I have the domain name, I've set it up as a place to post photos and stories about Josh. Feel free to send any photos or stories you have and I'll post them. I have to go find mine and scan them, but I'll try to get something up soon.
find / -name jumpers -print; cat jumpers $USER > manifest; cd /dev/airplane; more altitude; make jump; cd /pub; more beer;



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So last saturday I had my birthday party and Josh gave me a card with little stickers (that I promptly put all over his face) and a bloom county book of cartoons - specifically the one that bill the cat was introduced in.

Been looking through it, and I found a cartoon that I think Josh would have gotten a laugh out of.

I'll try to post it, hopefully I can figure out how to get it big enough.

"Life is a temporary victory over the causes which induce death." - Sylvester Graham

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Josh's sense of humor was a great one. That comic is right up his alley. I could almost see him being the author.

His understanding of the human psyche was so intense that he was able to coalesce the nature of human existence and turn it into humor. I'll always remember his amazing sense of humor. He was quick too. He was able to listen carefully to what was said, process it, understand it, and provide poetically tailored response. I remember more than once wishing I could speak as eloquently as he could, not because I wanted to make the world a better place, but because it was some of the best humor I'd ever experienced.

Josh was a skilled orator... soft spoken, quiet and in many ways shy, but what he lacked in quantity of words he made up for (in spades) in quality. I'll miss the conversations we had, walking around the city, hiking to an exit point, or next to a barrel at a pub playing darts. (He was one hell of a darts player... ;-)

All friendships develop their own rapport. Maybe it's as simple as a set of inside jokes based on experience, or maybe it's words that you've made up together, or maybe it's an exchange style (straight-man and cut-up ala Abbot & Costello), but over time friends develop some kind of signature rapport. It's a source of affirmation of the friendship, and the rapport becomes a source of pride that defines what makes the team great. If you examine how you talk to your true friends... not your acquaintances, but your true friends, you'll likely find you can have entire conversations in a few words.

Friends come to depend on the rapport they establish with each other. They count on it, and in the absence of their friend they find that the 'air' is missing something... it's missing their obvious responses, comebacks, cues, and triggers. It would be as though one day you woke up to find your dominant hand missing... would you still reach out with the stub of your arm out of habit? How long would it take to adapt and to remember that it's missing?

Josh was a lot of things to a lot of people. He was a son to his mother, a teacher and inspiration to many, and a friend to a chosen few. I'm doing my best to come to terms with the loss, but I offer my deepest sympathies to those who will see his empty seat at their dinner table. To those who will wonder where he is, when he should be arriving any moment for their weekly ritual pub trip. How soon until the manifest remembers that he's not going to be working there anymore, that he isn't sleeping in, he's just not there. The fact that the world has lost Josh is going to require all those who knew him to adapt to the -fact- that he is gone... and that'll likely involve the stages of the grieving process, but it's going to be those conspicuous absences that none of us have even considered yet that are going to be the hardest (I think).

I think the hardest part for me is going to be that I never got to say "good bye". But, you know no one gets advanced warning. None of us know when our next CRW jump will be our last, or that we might "get off" our motorcycles at 70mph, or go sleep and just not wake up.

Life is too short to live as though we have all the time the universe. There's not enough time to hold grudges, time to put off telling those we care for that we care for them, time to pretend that we can solve a quarrel later. What if your best friend died tomorrow... how would you feel about the way things had gone? What do you wish you'd told them? Why haven't you? Maybe it's just my emotions talking, but why are people so scared to tell their friends how important and loved they are?

I once asked Josh who his friends were... whose lives had he made better. He had an answer. Not a cliche, or some form of evasion, but a real answer that I'm sure he thought through before I'd asked him. I also asked him who in his life considered him a friend. Who were the people who knew him, faults and all, and accepted, understood, and loved him anyways. He also had an answer... He knew and was willing to talk about who he considered close to him. It was an intense conversation which involved analysis and sharing -good- things about people when they weren't around. I think he died knowing he'd made many people's lives better, and that many people cared about him... his reasons for what he did are far more complex than can be explained in a post on "dropzone dot com" and it wouldn't be appropriate to even begin to address those reasons here. It would be disrespectful to even try...



I'm waxing emotional, and I'm continuing to ramble. If anyone needs to talk, please feel free to email me: 787@e-raist.com
As much as you can during these hard times: Be Well.

-=Raistlin
find / -name jumpers -print; cat jumpers $USER > manifest; cd /dev/airplane; more altitude; make jump; cd /pub; more beer;



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Yes.
Many of his friends did how depressed he was. And he was seeking help. In so many ways, he did everything right...

That's the interesting thing about depression, there's no pill, or ritual which removes it. Depression can be described as "learned helplessness", and it's not something the can be easily helped. Depression often involves many inescapable logic loops which lock the afflicted into a state of mental/emotional (and sometimes physical) paralysis. It part of what feeds the "there's no way out" attitude, and leads the depressed to resort to overly drastic means...

Josh didn't do what he did, because he was missing good friends who did their best to help him. He knew his friends were trying as hard as they could. But he felt that if he didn't succeed with their advice and help, he would have failed them, which would have made him further depressed. (see the logical fallacy?) In his last letter to me, he made a point of that, he didn't want those around him to feel guilty or as though -they- had failed, if they couldn't cure his depression, or solve his problems.

Strange little loop isn't it? Breaking the cycle is an extremely difficult task..

-=Raistlin
find / -name jumpers -print; cat jumpers $USER > manifest; cd /dev/airplane; more altitude; make jump; cd /pub; more beer;



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Strange little loop isn't it? Breaking the cycle is an extremely difficult task..


I know that loop well. And yes, it's strange, and difficult to comprehend unless someone's been there.

Depression kills. It is ruthless, unending, and violent. It is not a personality disorder, nor a character flaw, but a medical condition which affects the brain. It can be treated but not cured.

The breaking of the cycle is very very difficult, but it can be done. There is no cure for depression, but there are ways to treat it so it's not as devastating. I am deeply sorry that Josh couldn't break the cycle.

Ciels-
Michele


~Do Angels keep the dreams we seek
While our hearts lie bleeding?~

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Lori,

I just saw this today. I've been out of the loop, off dz.com, and away from Snohomish because I've been helping my skydiving brother, Scott Cates, renovate the house he's just purchased.

In fact, Josh was over at Scott's place two weeks ago last Friday to have a look at some repair projects that Scott wanted to him to do. I was there as well. Josh said he was doing some work for Rob "Moose" Brautigam, another brother of ours from Snohomish, and that he'd be available in about two weeks.

That two weeks came and went this weekend. Scott called Josh to try to set up a schedule for him to come over and do the work, and was disappointed and confused when Josh didn't return his calls. I remarked to Scott that something big must have come up, because it's not like Josh to not call back - little did we know.

It troubles me to think that a young, talented stud like Josh would get so fed up with it all that he'd check out this way. I knew he'd been through some steep setbacks (divorce, job, house, etc.), but I thought he was just putting up with it - he never let on how troubled he was except when asked, but then he would comment on it with that wry, grim humor that was his trademark.

Josh was always friendly to low-timers. He was often busy flying camera, etc., but if he had time, he'd spend it with people who sought his skills. Josh was the kind of skydiver that many others wanted to be like.

I guess the best thing that I can say about him is that he wasn't a skygod, though he had every right to be. He always put the sport in perspective with life itself and the larger picture.

Like others undoubtedly feel, I wish I could have done more for him. I would have been more than happy to put him up at my place, or assist him financially if that was what he needed, but he never asked me.

Part of me is now thinking, "Perhaps if I had been a better friend to him, it might have been enough to sustain him through his troubles, and this wouldn't have happened", but of course, it's now too late for that. Those who were closer to him are doubtless feeling this in spades. Todd Higley has now lost two of his BASE brothers in less than a year.

It's said that suicide is hardest on those left behind. I think that's true. But Josh was a righteous man - he didn't lie, cheat, or steal, and he held no ill will towards anyone. I think that's as fitting a remembrance as one could ask for.

Go easy, bro. You'll be sorely missed, but we'll be seeing you again someday, and in the meantime, fly free.

mh
.

Edit to add this picture from the Seattle Skydivers website.
"The mouse does not know life until it is in the mouth of the cat."

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Thanks for posting that. I'd gone back and looked at what he'd posted, because the dz.com name looked familiar. I liked it, and liked him more with what you posted.



Before he was here, he was elsewhere:

http://groups-beta.google.com/groups?q=&start=0&scoring=d&enc_author=iIMEexkAAAC0TqYIeQCV5J2Ee2uO0ptPRyc9PcG1Tr1byrtCea8EZg&

http://groups-beta.google.com/groups?q=&start=0&scoring=d&enc_author=RQ-mDBIAAACt4P1NraNfUVsigTxH5lDi8rhlH0Pnl47z4AZhN98BFg&

http://groups-beta.google.com/groups?q=&start=0&scoring=d&enc_author=xYyeIxMAAADBTV_2shsmlkDj8zwvyYjVWMj6vob75xS36mXc24h6ww&

I think that's all of 'em. I spent all day yesterday and the day before reading his old posts.

There wasn't much about him not to like.

rl

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The Seattle Skydivers website has some pictures of Josh, including this one from the 2004 Christmas party.

http://www.seattleskydivers.org/gallery/xmasparty04/ssdxmaspty04-49.jpg The few I have of Josh aren't very good, but I'll keep looking.

-=Raistlin
find / -name jumpers -print; cat jumpers $USER > manifest; cd /dev/airplane; more altitude; make jump; cd /pub; more beer;



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I've attached a picture from just a couple of weeks ago. We had dinner at a friends house and then listened to some buddies playing drums afterwards. I have a pretty clear picture in my head of Josh sitting next to the fireplace, with his eyes closed and a huge grin plastered on his face, rocking back and forth to the drum beat. I was enjoying the music, beer and laughing at Josh's cheshire cat grin. (Josh is on the right, Craig and u-win are on the left.)


-Karen

"Life is a temporary victory over the causes which induce death." - Sylvester Graham

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I'd feel bad for the stand in... ouch!

An interesting problem that plagues our culture is there really is no prescribed ritual for what to do when our friends die. In Josh's case many, many people are affected, from his family, to his best friend, to his friends, to the dropzone, to anyone who was counting on him to do something in the future.

Cultural rituals for funerals serve the purpose of communal good-byes and providing a sense of closure, but also let each individual confront and address the internal strife they have endured during the grieving process.

We all handle grief in our own way, for some of us it's anger and frustration, for others it's pure sadness, and yet others confusion and shock. And more than likely it's all of the above plus our own unique individual personal emotions mixed up into the potpourri. If there were a quick and easy solution to the grieving process, a pill we could take, or a dance we could do to relieve us: we would. But there isn't.... (you'd make a million dollars if you could invent one)

Instead we're left with each other... a bunch of grieving, sad, frustrated, confused, shocked people leaning on each other for support during these difficult times. Josh didn't leave us the solution to overcoming our loss of him...and yet he did. Many of us haven't met, and here we are, sharing intimate details about ourselves and what Josh meant to us. I think he'd be proud... he'd look at that and smile at that bright side of humanity.

I hope that some of the words we've written here will be of comfort to those who were close to him, and those who don't yet know how to handle what happened. Hopefully we've voiced some things that they've only felt and were unable to put into words. Hopefully it find provide some sense of clarity in the sea of chaos. I know it has for me.

-=Raistlin
find / -name jumpers -print; cat jumpers $USER > manifest; cd /dev/airplane; more altitude; make jump; cd /pub; more beer;



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I may be bigger than Josh but you can still have a hug. You can even punch me in the belly if it will help.



He does give good hug :)

If I could hug Josh I'd tell him I wish he'd hung in there because I know, from personal experience, that it is possible to come out on the other side of darkness. I'd also probably call him a dumbass and remind him of his own favorite quote ... and that what he did was not productive. [:/]

And Karen ... great picture. Thanks for posting.

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I was sent this (amongst other stuff) yesterday, and thought about this thread as i read it,
cold comfort I suppose, but maybe someone reading this could use it. [:/]


Quote

1. There are at least two people in this world that you would die for.
2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.
3. The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you.
4. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone even if they don't like you.
5. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.
6. You mean the world to someone.
7. You are special and unique.
8. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.
9. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.
10. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take a look at what life has given you.
11. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.



-- Hope you don't die. --

I'm fucking winning

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If I thought it would bring him back I would let everyone that has ever met Josh stand in line and punch me in the belly. But I know it won't.

And you usually end up hitting me in the arm.

"If you have time to panic, you have time to do something more productive."
Josh Whipple 7/15/70-2/10/05

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