Christmas in Hospital – updated 1st January 2008

Surfing on a Wave of Love

After 2 months of ill health Joe was diagnosed with malignant cancer on Sep 19th 2007. Despite a very poor prognosis he had a great desire to live and was valiant and hopeful throughout the next three months. In this time he was supported, nourished, slightly bemused but moved by the love and generosity of

  • the families of Charlbury
  • his school friends and teachers
  • friends and colleagues from Sussex University
  • friends from Runtime
  • fellow musicians
  • people whose lives he touched through friends and family
  • French friends
  • his loving family
  • his partner Emilie who was at his side throughout and with whom he enjoyed Autumn days at their flat being acutely aware of the fragility of their life together but certain of their happiness.

He felt privileged to have such a fortunate life and he told Emilie he was surfing on a wave of love.

We should like to give praise and thanks to the wonderful oncology team at Saint -Louis Hospital in Paris who were medically vigorous and tender with their care.

Joe will be cremated in Paris at a short informal gathering for French friends and family. His ashes will then be brought back to Evenlode House in Charlbury.  Later this year there will gatherings in the UK of friends and family in both Brighton and Charlbury.  Donations to Cancer Research please in lieu of flowers.

Geoff and Sheila

——————————————————————————————

Sadly, yesterday, December 28th at 7.25 GMT Joe died in Saint Louis Hospital here in Paris.

He will be cremated in a short simple gathering at Pere-Lachaise on Monday 7th January at 9.45 GMT .

His ashes will be returned to the UK and we will hold some gatherings for friends and family there later in the New Year.

We will keep this blog going and update it with information about these gatherings later.

Geoff, Sheila, Patrick and Emilie

—————————————————————————————————-

Well, it’s looking more and more likely that I’ll be spending Christmas Day right here in St. Louis Hospital. I’d been getting weaker and weaker following chemo #4, and with a lovely cough-and-spit to accompany it – it was obvious something wasn’t right.

To cut a long story short, I checked into the hospital Tuesday 11th, and have been here since. I’ve become incredibly, depressing feeble – I’m no longer capable of doing the simplest of activities (getting out of bed, even sitting upright in bed (this requires two nurses to lift me), going for a #2 (number #1s I can manage, with the aid of a strange “pistoler” device which makes it possible to piss into from almost any angle – very handy!) unassisted. I’ve also developed an enormous, cracking cough which is generating enormous amounts of phlegm – but of course the act of coughing/spitting the phlegm sends me into a complete respiration panic attack.

That’s the other thing I didn’t mention – all this is caused/linked by a huge chest infection I seem to have developed at the time in my chemo when my white blood cells were at their lowest. It’s being hit with a second round of antibiotics, which appears to be helping (first round, all-purpose round completely useless), and have had a “punction” to drain some of the fluid from one of my lungs. Impossible to get the whole lot out as the needle keeps getting jammed with blood.

So – there you go. All of this helps, so things are moving in the right direction. Though I have the occasional panic where I feel like I just can’t breath – even though I patently can, or I’d be dead rather than worrying whether I could breath or not. I’ve been having trouble sleeping, mainly down to breathing difficulties, I think. There are various drugs being added to me intravenously to calm me down, more steroids to try and sort the fucked lungs out, vitamins as I’ve lost my appetite and and finding it very hard to eat, and goodness knows what else.

So. A low point. Hard to keep moral up at the moment, but people are being extraordinarily helpful as normal, and I’m getting by. Thanks especially to Ben, James, Noel and Zulq, for the Care Package of DOOM – as I am sleeping most of the time, or at least lying with my eyes closed, the audiobooks are great.

Anyway – doesn’t look like anyone’s going to be checking me out from here anytime soon, what with my inability to move more than a few inches of my own volition, so I reckon we’ll be breaking the tinsel out in Fugure #6336.

This is the first time I’ve strung together enough energy to write something, so I guess that’s progress, anyway – even if it’s all a bit negative. Next week, maybe: standing up unaided will give me something more positive to write about.

In case I don’t post again before, Merry Christmas, everyone!

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66 responses to “Christmas in Hospital – updated 1st January 2008

  1. Hi, lovely Joe. I haven’t posted before, although we’ve been keeping up with all your news via your blog and through your parents. There’s absolutely nothing jolly I can say at the moment (I’ve never been much good at false cheerfulness) but please, please – just hang in there and keep on fighting, as you’ve been doing so very well thus far. Next week (if not before!) you’ll be stand proud again and you’re going to STRIDE out of there, remember! And imagine how much you’re going to enjoy that first #2 after this – a triumph! Photos may be required?! Meanwhile, we’ll have to just carry on sending you and the whole family all the strongest positive vibrations we can muster, constantly, over this strange Christmas. With much love from us all – John and Eirian, Rachel and Daniel

  2. Well matey… I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m really touched that you’re thinking about keeping us all updated while you’re having such an annoying time with your energy levels. You are a star and a trooper of the highest order.

    Also, stop hogging all the tinsel please… I can’t get any in the shops near me – most unsatisfactory. Hope they allow it in St. Louis. Sending loads of positive seasonal vibes over the water – hope Christmas isn’t too phlegmy.

    Big love as always,
    Tinsel-less of Hove.

  3. Hi Joe – best wishes and very much hope to see an improvement in the New Year. I’m sorry to hear you are going through a tough patch. I’ll look forward to reading a post indicating that the treatment has brought a return to your strength!

    Dan

  4. Hey Joe

    Sorry its been a while, lots happening here….selling my house, been to visit Pams family in India and plenty of bouts of flu and cold to go round.

    Sorry to hear you might be in St Louis for xmas and picked up some nasties. Lets hope you bat this lot away asap and get back to some normality.

    Pam and I are keeping an eye on the blog. Its great. By the way have you read the Kite Runner yet. We both loved it ….its worth a read.

    We are thinking of you through this rough patch you are having. Pam and I wish you and Emilie all the best for Christmas.

    Let me know if there is anything you need.

    lots of love

    Paul and Pam

  5. Sending virtual hugs, Joe, and best wishes to you and yours over Christmas!

  6. All my love for you, Emilie and your families! Merry Christmas!You’ll always be surrounded by people that loves and admire you!!!
    Love,
    De & Ruy.

  7. Hey Joe,

    We’re sorry to hear that you’ve suffered this tough set back. Hopefully this low is a sign of just how fiercely chemo #4 is fighting the cancer and you will beat the pesky lung infection soon.

    We too wish you a phlegm-free Christmas and wish you, Emilie and the rest of your family renewed energy and strength for the New Year.

    Lots of love
    Oli & Berna
    xxx

  8. Am I the only one who sees this as firm evidence of the imminent emergence of your superpowers?

    Well, until you are able to stir custard and or make biscuits infinitesimally smaller with your mind, hang in there.

    Thanks for the posts. They really are appreciated (although I had to take a moment after “the needle keeps getting jammed with blood”).

    Best wishes to you and your family!

    Love Z.

  9. We are hoping for you that the doctors all dress up as father christmas. I agree with the others with thanking you for keeping us updated.

    Yikes, screaming child to feed.

    All our best.

    Love from Laura

  10. Hey Joe

    It’s the shortest day of the year – traditionally a low ebb for the world. Things will turn a corner as the days get brighter.

    Hope you get your appetite back soon to enjoy all the french christmas delicacies.

    Love from us

    Sophie & Nigel xxx

  11. Howard and Avril

    Someone said….Hey Joe, I remember that from the distant past – some hairy bloke who played the guitar with his teeth – in fact not so distant as there was a time when I thought our Joe Horner was turning into that one – I’ll send the picture to your dad. Some great replies and all sentiments supported especially the super hero one. Can you get the TV series, I guess we all have an idea which one you are!!! So sorry that you are feeling the burn – but hopefully hurting is working and all will be much improved in 2008.
    Love and hugs to you all, especially to your Mum and Dad from another Mum and Dad. Bon Noel our hero…xxx

  12. Sorry to hear that it sounds like things is tough for you at the moment, hopefully you will get your appetite back just in time for a double helping of sprouts!

    Take it easy fella,

    -James

  13. And there I was with all my fingers and toes crossed that you would have a fab Xmas at home with Emilie…. that’ll teach me to be superstitious, will tkae the tried and tested way of touching wood next time. Hope you manage to get some fun out the day – I suppose French Santas are terribly elegant rather than fat and jolly?

    still hoding you in the light 🙂

    lots of love

    Diane

  14. ooops… and I havn’t started on the snowballs yet “holding”

    though hoding does raise some interesting mental images……

  15. Mike and Mireille

    hi Joe

    Have just caught up with your news nd hope things have improved, at least a bit. I liked the comment about the shortest day and hope it does prove to be appropropiatly symbolic. Sent a card to Geoff and Sheila but it was difficult to get the right message, I think we settled for ‘hope 2008 brings better things” and that is for sure

    if courage and humour have anything to do withy getting better, and they say it does, you should be just fine

    best wishes

    Mike and Mireille

  16. Hey Joe

    Echoing everything said above… so sorry to hear about the set back, but have much faith that it’ll all get better soon. Hang in there pal… we’re all rooting for you. Hope you and Emilie and families have a good day, and that your health will improve in leaps and bounds. Lots of positive vibes and love to you all.

    pm

  17. Joe

    Like the others I look forward to hearing better news in your next writing, you continue to amaze me with your obvious strength and humour in fighting this dreadful disease and its effects. We continue to send our best wishes

    Clarrie

  18. Blimey Joe that reminds me of some fun I had over an Xmas/New Year with not being able to breath too well in a hospital – I sympathise fully! But hospital is the only place to be! They have some experience with such things 😉

    At least round #2 of the antibiotics is having an effect. Amazing things antibiotics – once they work – they really work!

    Hope you’ve feeing a bit better now 🙂

  19. giles (the guitar wielding one)

    well, i guess these things never go smoothly, as I think i said before – always some tricky twists and turns along the way. i do hope you are feeling better by now. i just went to an exhibition of siennese art. angels an fings – luvverley. hope to hear good news from you soon, mate.

    x
    g

  20. We’re thinking about you and your fight all the time man. I struggle to find the words that I think are helpful and appropriate but I think you are a beautiful human being and if it helps you please remember that I and many others have you front and centre. You ginger beauty

    Gxx

  21. Sorry Joe – only just back online after all the festive (?) distractions

    Sorry to hear you’ve been feeling so crap.
    Chest drains are never top of anybody’s Christmas wishlist ;-( but I hope the combination of that and the antibiotics is doing the job and helping the breathlessness.

    Hope the chemical cocktail kicks in and you start feeling better soon. I’m thinking of you and wishing you good health with all my heart.

    All love
    Tx

  22. oh god. i heard the terrible news tonight and i’m so upset.

    i have toasted the life of our friend joe tonight and been so confused by the way it was cut so tragically short

    he was a beautiful man. one of the most genuine and thoughtful people i have ever met. skinny, shy, clever as hell and full of grace. he had some crazy ideas too most of which i loved. who the hell takes up smoking at age 25 – joe that’s who, but only for a few months – mad fucker.

    i was one of the directors at runtime when joe applied for a job – he came in and from day 1 was a shining star. i don’t think i had ever met a more mature yet modest 21 year old. he was a gifted programmer and if he had had more time would have had a glittering career, but i am grateful for the work he did with us and the serenity in which he did it. nothing was too much trouble and every job was done with care, thought and skill. It’s no co-incidence that fabrice chose him to work with over everyone else in the company.

    he encouraged and coached those around him and never put himself forward for challenging roles even when the rest of us knew he was exactly the man for the job.

    his love of music and performance was a theme within the company and zoe coined him band-jo which i liked

    he added soul to the company.

    i loved your toothy smile joe – and your fabulous writing, emails and sensationally dry humour

    i was in the hop holes when he ‘met’ emily – and it was a special evening. he was a few sheets to the wind – stoked up with a little dutch courage, but was still racked with guilt as she used to go out with a friend of his and he was as worried about how his fried would feel as he was thrilled by the possibility of a relationship with her. that was one of his characteristics – totally aware of all of those around him and desperately not wanting to upset their sensitivities despite his own self-interest. it’s amazing that someone so young could be so wise.

    tonight i raise a glass to celebrate the life of one of the most fabulous people i have known in celebration and admiration for a life cut tragically short but which for it’s 29 years was an example to me.

    i love you joe. may you rest in peace my friend. i will miss you.

  23. I am truly sorry and sad to have heard the news that Joe has passed away. His response to a terrible and terrifying illness has been well documented by him, with bravery and extraordinary humour.

    I only knew him well when I was a kid, and he was 9 and I was 13 – or something like that – we were just pals because our parents’ were friends – but we all got on, me, Pat and Joe, and I rather relished my short-lived role as geek king! I think he usurped my status pretty fast, as fast as any development in technology could carry him.

    I never knew him beyond childhood, sadly. I am sure that the adult life he has led will be remembered most fondly by his family and all who know him as a man.

    My sympathies to Geoff, Sheila, Emilie, Pat and every other family, relative, and friend of his.

    His bravery, intelligence and humour is enduring. What a gift for those who really knew and loved him as an adult, a partner, a brother and a son.

    I am so sorry to have heard this sad news.

    Daniel
    x

  24. Geoff, Shiela, Emilie,

    Joe will be very much missed by his friends, even those ‘at a distance’. He was a much liked and loved member of the IDEAS lab here at Uni. Sussex.

    Diane

  25. Geoff, Sheila, Emilie,

    My condolences and thoughts are with you. I taught Joe as an undergraduate and have fond memories of discussions with the bright boy with dreadlocks. I then had the pleasure of working with him at the ideas Lab. He was a star, brilliant programmer, great person and a wonderful team member. A very sad loss indeed, he will be missed by many.

    Rose

  26. Geoff, Sheila, Emilie

    My thoughts are with you all, Joe was one of our stars at the Marlborough – I only got to know him well through the ski trips but I soon recognised the talent in him. I have followed his battle with cancer over the last few months and have been in wonder of his fortitude and humour. No words can help at this sad time but I am honoured to have known him – you must be proud to have been part of his life, one who was strong and talented.

    Clarrie

  27. Geoff, Sheila, Emilie, and Pat
    I’m kind of lost for words right now but I wanted to tell you how much joe meant to me and all of us in Brighton. If there is anything practical or helpful I can do at this time you only have to ask.
    much love, and thinking of you all
    giles.

  28. Emilie, Geoff, Sheila

    I can’t say how sorry I am to hear of Joe’s death and can’t begin to imagine how you must feel.
    My thoughts are with you and all of his many friends.

    Joe was an amazing guy; talented, passionate, gentle and funny and always ready to play with the absurdity of any situation…

    The way he embraced his new life in France was inspiring – making me remember that anything’s possible and that we have to be willing to take risks to have the lives we want – but nothing compared to the way he dealt with his illness – head-on, head-high and with humour.
    I feel humbled by his courage.

    I will miss him but I feel very lucky to have known him. He was truly one of life’s good guys – and it just seems so unfair that he should be gone.

    I’m just so glad to know that he was surrounded by so much love in his final months.
    Many people would say how lucky he was to have such a loving and supportive partner, family and network of friends.
    I think we all know that you don’t just get luck like that, you make it – and I think that’s the strongest testament that I can think of to Joe’s memory, he inspired love in those around him.

    All my love to you all,
    Tomx

  29. Dear Emilie, Geoff, Sheila

    I am so, so sorry to hear the news. Like everyone else, I will miss Joe very much. Joe was a fantastic and hugely impressive work mate, super-intelligent and multi-talented, but more than anything else – an increidible friend and certainly one of the most lovely people I have ever met. The world will be a much emptier place.

    All my love and best wishes to you all.
    pm

  30. Dear Emilie, Sheila, Geoff

    We really dont know how to express our feelings. Our prays and thoughts are with you!
    Joe was a brave brilliant guy and Family Seratone will always miss him.

    All our love,

    Debora & Ruy.

  31. I cannot say how sad I am to hear this news. Joe’s words have been so brave and inspirational – they are a fitting memorial to a truly lovely person. You must all be very proud of him. I’m so sorry for your loss

    hilary

  32. Dear Emilie, Geoff and Sheila,

    I am so, so sorry to hear of Joe’s death. I met Joe when I joined the Ideas Lab at Sussex, and had little time to know him well before he left for Paris. However, I followed his blog regularly, and discovered a person whose wit, humour and strength amazed me.

    Please know that you are in my thoughts,
    Judith

  33. Really sad.

    I knew Joe only briefly working on a project at Sussex but enjoyed his company greatly and had hoped to catch up again in Paris one day.

    Goodbye to a great guy.

    josh

  34. Geoff, Sheila, Emilie, Pat

    I feel absolutely devastated for your loss. I’ve been following Joe’s amazing blog and wish I had kept in touch with him through adulthood – rather than by proxy through mum and dad – what an amazing guy!

    This time must be just horrendous for everyone and my feelings go out to you. I hope you have plenty of support around you, for you have truly been an inspirational support for Joe. You must be so proud of the way he has conducted himself and the grace and dry humour with which he has faced such a dreadful disease.
    It is such an appalling waste but I guess you have to focus on the fact that Joe’s life was filled with happiness, love, adventure and friendship – all a credit to the man he was and will be remembered for.

    My love,
    Rachel
    xx

  35. Dear Geoff, Sheila, Emilie & Pat,

    It’s difficult to express how shocked I am that this has happened, and can only imagine how you must be feeling.

    Joe will be remembered with great fondness by all of his old school friends. He was a great friend who had an amazingly positive attitude, something which I have especially admired in him over the past few months.

    I am disappointed with myself that I put off scanning in those old photos to send to Joe. I’ll still do this and post the link here, so that everyone can see them.

    Please keep us updated of any gatherings that you organise in the UK- I would love to be there.

    All my love,

    Roz xx

  36. Dear Geoff, Sheila, Em and Pat….
    I haven’t really got any words to say how I’m feeling. Joe was a great guy, a good mate and I’m proud to have spent two years playing music with him.
    I will miss him very much indeed.

    Love and thoughts
    Toby
    x

  37. Joe was a wonderful guy and I wish I had known him better.

    His bravery and humour on this blog in recent months have been an inspiration.

    Bye Joe, I’ll miss you fella x

  38. We’re very sad to hear this news of Joe.

    Our enduring memory of Joe is him happily partying at his and Emilie’s Brighton Farewell do as they left for Paris.

    Hilary and Richard

  39. I am so terribly sorry to hear the news of this tragic loss.

    I used to joke about being Joe’s groupie as Sophia and I would follow Seratone around the different bars. I’ll also never forget how Joe lent me his bedroom when I had nowhere to stay one summer.

    Emilie and Joe were both at my farewell party when I left for the USA. I wish I could have been more of a support to Joe during this terrible illness, but it seems like Emilie, Geoff and Sheila did a wonderful job of being there for him. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

    Rest in Peace young Jedi Joe.

  40. 3 days on, and I still can’t believe he’s gone. I think I first met him pretty much 10 years ago, and my initial admiration for him back then never lessened over the years. He was a joy to live with, to work with, and to, well, “grow up” with, I guess.

    I’ve put some longer thoughts about him (and Lawrence) in a blog post here:

    http://describe.blogspot.com/2007/12/lawrence-jupp-joe-holmberg-1979-2007.html

    All my love and thoughts to Emilie, Geoff, Sheila and Pat. Hopefully see you all some time in 2008.

  41. Emilie, Geoff, Sheila

    Our condolences too. Joe was one of the sweetest, smartest guys I ever met. Was always a pleasure to work with at Runtime and to hang out with anywhere.

    We chatted by email every now and then – and he was still making recommendations for virtual synths and talking about tech toys in November.

    I knew his illness was serious, but with his positivity and optimism, Joe really did make it sound possible that he might pull through it. It is awful to hear that he didn’t. I’m still stunned. But few people could be as courageous and inspiring and he was throughout the battle.

    His memory will live on among those who knew him.

    phil jones (and on behalf of gisel carriconde-azevedo)

  42. I’m so sorry to hear about Joe. I was following the blog and I really thought he would get through this. My thoughts are with the family and with everyone who’s life he touched.

    Joe was one of the sweetest guys I ever met, and also one of the funniest. His quiet way belied his deep sense of humour. I remember meeting him in the first week at uni through Laura, I think. Some of the very first MP3s on my computer are courtesy of Joe!

    I’m not as talented as he was with words and numbness doesn’t allow me to write anything poignant or meaningful.

    Joe, you will be missed.

  43. Dear Emilie, Sheila, Geoff and Pat,

    Condolences, and I am so sad and sorry to hear about Joe. He was one of the nicest, kindest and generally best people I ever met. I would have never got through university without him. I learned more from him about programming than any of our lecturers.

    I have many fond memories of Joe. I wish I could have seen more of him these last few years. I wish I could have had a chance to introduce my daughter to him as I’m sure he would have been a funny uncle-type.

    Love from Laura

  44. Geoff, Sheila, Emilie

    Let me echo the thoughts and feelings written above. I didn’t know joe so well, i suppose. I would just see him day to day over the years in the runtime office, and for a drink over the road, in the hop poles pub, every now and then. This did let me see and hear and enjoy his company, his sizzling drive, his bright and warm nature. And i’m grateful for this.
    phil

  45. Dear Geoff,Shelia,Patrick and Emilie

    I am so sad to hear the tragic passing of Joe.
    I have such fond memories from our childhood.

    Katherine

  46. Emilie, Geoff, Sheila, Pat,

    I’m so, so sorry. I still can’t take it in. He was one of the smartest most sensitive people I’ve ever met. The world is lacking something important without him.

    Love Dave.

  47. I’m really sorry to hear the news. Dave has it exactly right when he says the world is lacking something important without him.

    I just listened to a few of songs Joe recorded a long time ago. They brought back a lot of memories of him that I wish I had, and could have, more of.

    Emilie, Geoff, Sheila and Pat my thoughts are with you.

    Love Z.

  48. Dear Emilie, Geoff, Sheila & Pat

    I’m really sorry to hear about Joe. He was always such a genuine, warm and and caring person. I have fond memories of random conversations at Sussex Uni – he had a talent for being able to explain the most random (to me) programming problems – never once loosing patience. The world has lost a very special person, he will be missed. Sleep well Joe.

    Helen xx

  49. Dear Geoff, Shiela and Emilie,

    I’m so sorry to hear about Joe. I worked with him in the Ideas Lab. He was always such a joy to be around and just had such a lovely manner. My enduring memory of him will be his genuine delight when I introduced him to my new baby son.

    I have been following his blog for a while and have felt so inspired by his bravery and humour.

    My thoughts are with you.

    Sal.

  50. Dear Geoff, Shiela and Emilie

    I have just returned from Christmas and New Year in Madeira to learn the desolating news of
    Joe’s death. Though it was clear to me that the prognosis was poor, Joe’s own commentary on his life was so characteristically upbeat and humorously ironic that I’ve almost accepted his own take on the situation.

    His blog perfectly symbolised the Joe I knew and valued so highly at the Marlborough; kindly, wise, at times extraordinarily funny – and with remarkable insights. His creative writing was outstanding. It was a privilege to know him, and our lives have been enriched by his life.

    All my deepest sympathies – I will write properly.

    Denys

  51. Geoff, Sheila, Patrick, Emilie & family-

    Joe’s courage, humour and good nature in the face of dire adversity was a lesson to us all. We’ve lost someone truly unique.

    I hope things get easier for you all in time.

    -James

  52. I worked with Joe at Runtime (and our paths crossed briefly at Marlborough and Sussex), and he was one of the straightest and goodest guys I’ve known. Its very rare to meet someone who genuinely seems not to have a single bad bone in their body.

    I probably spent 8hours a day, 5 days a week, for a couple of years, no more than 6 feet from the guy; and I’m starting to regret how techy obsession with the machine acts as a barrier to deeper friendships. We probably exchanged more emails than words.

    My loss.

    My thoughts go out to all those more closely affected than I by his passing and his pain.

  53. Joe was a great friend to me at school. I thought he was brilliant – so funny and clever and caring. He cheered me up with his warm and funny emails when I was finding it hard adjusting to life at Uni. We had some great times when we were at the Marlborough – the CCCP gigs, parties on Stonesfield common, just hanging out in the 6th form block. I can hardly believe he’s gone. I’m privileged to have known him.

    Geoff, Sheila, Pat and Emilie – you have my deepest sympathy. My thoughts are with you.

    Emily

  54. Dear Geoff, Sheila, Pat and Emilie,

    My thoughts are constantly with you at the moment.

    Like many others I’m sure, I am still lost for something comforting to say – it still doesn’t seem real to me. I am so proud to have had Joe as a friend for such a long time. What a wonderful, wonderful man. I’m so glad that he left us knowing just how much everyone loved him.

    I would echo Giles in saying that if there is anything practical we can do for you over the coming months, please do ask.

    With very much love,
    -Mark.

    P.S. For those who knew of Joe’s musical exploits, you may be interested to read these thoughts on the RoH blog – http://therepublicofheaven.blogspot.com/2008/01/sad-news.html

  55. Dearest Geoff, Shelia, Patrick and Emilie

    As much as I’d like write something poignant and significant, there are no words that can accurately sum up my heart-felt sympathy for your loss. His death was unexpected for everyone, and I simply can’t believe he’s not here.

    My life has been enriched by his friendship and support. The more I reflect, the more I recall the great times he had with all of us — leaps of faith for the sake of fun, Joe was always headfirst into any good idea (especially when it involved dangerous maneuvers with Mark’s camera equipment!).

    Funny, smart, energetic, honest, warm – that would sum up my memory of Joe.

    You are all in my thoughts right now, and like others have mentioned, I would be more than happy to help in any way possible, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

    Much love to you all,
    Amy

  56. I can’t know how you feel Emilie, I only met you once and your love and care for Joe was obvious to my cousin and I. He couldn’t have had a better support, and when I said on leaving you “thank you for looking after us”. I really meant thank you for being such a great companion to a wonderful person as Joe. I can only guess what strength and spirit he gained from you.

    I really wanted him to know how highly I thought of him when I visited both of you. He was a modest guy and a gentleman, people like that usually don’t know how wonderful they are as valued friends and family members or indeed how amazingly talented they are. I wanted to say more that day about how much I respect him but I thought it would be out of place and I have a tendency to choke.

    Please accept my condolences.

    I listened to Joe’s Krauschanl EP the day I heard the news of his passing. It sounds brilliant, Joe had a distinctive style of speaking and it’s on the CD.

    Let me know if you need anything.

  57. I’ll not, hypocritically, make out to have been one of Joe’s closest mates because (sadly) that’s simply not true.
    I spent enough time with him at uni and afterwards to know that he was a thoroughly great guy, though.
    Gentle, clever, funny, modest, generous, positive, and ginger are just a few words that apply. There are many more. All good.
    I was close enough to know that I liked him a lot. It was impossible not to.

    A spark just went out but it won’t be forgotten.

    My thoughts and condolences are with those he’s left behind.
    Take care of each other.

    – Ben.

  58. Geoff, Shiela and Emilie..

    I didn’t know Joe particularly well – but the few occasions I did spend with him I always thoroughly enjoyed his company; he always struck me as gentle, compassionate, witty and intelligent – and great fun to be around.

    I’ve been amazed at how he has dealt with the last few months and have been moved by the positive news and the humorous observations. I was very sad to read the news today when I checked this blog for an update – and I just wanted to say that my thoughts are with you all at this difficult time.

    Best wishes,
    Alex

  59. My heart felt sympathy for your loss. I can only reiterate the feelings of every one else. I just can’t find the right words.

    The majority of my favourite memories from Brighton involve Joe. I stayed with him for the last month before I left and it was one of the happiest times I spent in Brighton. I have such great memories sitting in the back garden drinking cherry beer and listing to music with him. I was a tremendous person to know, and I feel very privileged to have known him and to have called him friend. I’m still devastated to know he’s not there.

    The last email I got from him he mentioned how happy he was that every one was writing to him and sending him such an “ocean of love”. He said “You, my friend, and my other friends, are my extended soul and mind, and you are so important.” I will miss him terribly.

  60. Sheila, Geoff, Pat and Emilie,

    I heard this awful tragic news yesterday. I am so so sorry all of your losses.

    I haven’t seen Joe since randomly bumping into him in Bristol about 8 years ago, but I’ve thought of him often in that time. I don’t think I’ve known anyone on the face of the planet longer. He was one of my first playmates, and the most imaginative. I used to cry at having to leave all the fun behind when I left.

    As I think back to our childhood, I have so many wonderful memories of Joe. Playing in the attic, pretending to be asleep when staying over so we could read comics, making Lego spaceships…

    I miss you Joe, I wish I’d said so before and seen you sometime while you were in Brighton.

    I really don’t know what to say or do, but my love and thoughts are with you all, and if I can do anything, please do ask.

    Dan.

  61. Pingback: In Memoriam: Joe Holmberg 23 March 1979 to 28 Dec 2007

  62. Dear Sheila, Geoff, Pat and Emilie,

    I’ve just returned from South Korea and heard this devastating news. My thoughts are with you at this tragic and difficult time. Joe was such a star, one of the warmest, most kind hearted people I have ever met with talent and verve to match it. I just can’t comprehend that he’s gone.

    I believe I first met Joe through COGS where we were both students but later got to know him through so many social circumstances that I’m no longer certain of the chronology of it all. We both worked at Runtime of course and I quickly became to admire his quiet but quick demeanor as well as his never tiring ability to explain and understand. I have such fond memories of Joe from our years in Brighton from long evenings in the pub to film shoots and Seratone/RoH gigs. Joe’s humour and passion for life was evident in everything he did. I remember him one evening finding an unidentified bottle from his cupboard with X’s on it and suggesting we drink it. I remember him kindly telling me I shouldn’t break his girlfriend’s nose again … good times. Such a wonderful person, such an immense loss.

    The world has been deprived of one of its brightest stars and I have lost a dear friend. Rest in peace Joe, you will be sorely missed.

    Love,

    Sampsa

    I’ve collected some photos I had of Joe and made them available online. Please let me know if you’d like the (slightly larger) originals.

    http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/sampsasojakka/JoeHolmberg

  63. Dear Geoff, Shelia, Pat and Emilie

    This is so sad. We were both very, very fond of him.

    We are in India at the moment and from so far away all of this is just heartbreaking. Me and my girlfriend Lizzy both knew Joe for many years (in Brighton and Oxford). Joe, reluctantly (as he didn’t want to do the wrong thing as he was always a true gent!) gave me Lizzy’s number after the first time we met and thus had a significant part to play in us being together.
    We had a great time with him and Emilie in Paris late 06 and planned to meet again in Oxford but it wasn’t to be. I sent him some cool music when I heard he was sick – we often traded tips on music and band gear and went to several gigs together, mostly in Brighton.

    Joe seemed very happy with his new life in Paris and it seems he was settling in well. He fought his illness with dignity, determination and courage and these blogs are testiment to his bravery.
    Rest in Peace Joe – it’s a cruel world that takes such a gentle soul at such a young age and our thoughts are with the family and Emilie at this time.

    Lots of love and respect
    Jay and Lizzy x

  64. Geoff, Sheila, Pat & Emilie,

    My heartfelt sympathy for your terrible loss.

    I last saw Joe at his leaving party in Brighton before he & Emilie moved to Paris. I never for one minute thought that that goodbye would turn out to be so final.

    The world is a poorer place for his passing. I will treasure the memories of the times I spent in his company.

  65. Dear Geoff, Sheila, Patrick and Emilie

    My sincere condolences on Joe’s passing. The love, strength and bravery expressed in this blog from yourselves and everyone who is hurting because of his absence has been incredible.

    Tonight I spoke about Joe to my 4yr old daughter. Its cloudy here but we spied a shiny star. I said it was Joe. She asked how he got up there and before I could answer she said she knew how…he was really, really, tall and cut a star shaped hole in the sky. That’s how.

    I thought, if love makes us grow, then yes, joe was one of the tallest amongst us.

    Joe, i’ll miss the future without you. They say the shortest distance between two people is a smile. My lasting memory of you is your generous smile….and that star,…….it’s ever so bright.

    Love and respect to you all

    Katja

  66. Dear Geoff, Sheila, Patrick and Emilie

    I just wanted to say how very sorry I am to hear the sad news of Joe’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    I worked with Joe at Runtime. As one of the least technical in the group, I learned from Joe’s incredible wisdom, I tightened my skills to deflect his cheeky mockery and on a social level, his informative descriptions of how to ‘mosh’ effectively have taught me much!

    Most of all, I enjoyed his wonderful company at The Hop Poles for a well-earned post-work beer.

    Both Joe and Emilie lit up the room and I don’t think it will ever feel like Joe has gone. His infinite wisdom, his cheeky smile, his insightful beliefs on not only how, but why to work to make the World a better place will stay in us all forever.

    Tonight I have read his blog like a novel and in true Joe style, he has made me learn, laugh and cry. What an amazing Son, Sibling and Partner and Friend.

    How blessed we have all been to know even a little of Joe.

    Katja’ daughter Rosa is right. Joe does light up the sky for us all, as he always has.

    My deepest thoughts are with you and my thanks for sharing such a wonderful person.

    Charlotte (Charly)

    x

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