I always knew, one day, we’d lose a Joker. A site as large as ours, more than ten thousand members, it’s bound to happen.

I always wondered how I, we, would handle it.

Then we lost our TxGent. A gentle, kind fellow, he had donated much of his talented photography for the first Joker’s Calendar. I personally knew him a bit better than some, because he fell in love with one of my dear friends. He had a sister who he loved, and of course his photography website, http://www.SerendipityImages.com.

Reluctantly I made the post that TXGent was with us no more, and the board plunged into mourning. We were still mourning a week later when the unthinkable happened: we lost our beloved moderator UnkleKevin. UnkleKevin had been in and out of the hospital with emphysema. I talked to him nearly every day on the phone.

The day before he died, he was on his way to the hospital because he couldn’t breathe. I was scared, but he’d been in that position many times prior. The next day, a friend of mine called him and he was actually feeling better. So he said he’d call my friend back when they moved him out of ICU.

Suddenly I had a call from Dustbunny2, who was bawling, gasping for air. UnkleKevin has passed, unexpectedly. It had been fast; they told us, a clot to the lung. I was heartbroken. UnkleKevin had been with me since I bought Jokers, five years ago. With his sarcastic wit, he was an enduring presence in chat, where he ruled the roost with a level head and unending sarcasm and grace. Lord help the trolls who fell foul of UnkleKevin!

Still devastated from those two blows, a third was underway. Unbeknownst to any of us, Joker’s most prolific and humorous poster, DJmatt, suddenly developed a blood clot in his leg that traveled to HIS lung last week and passed immediately. Now the whole board was plunged into mourning; everyone knew DJ. He brightened so many days, his humor was ever present. Many newbies claimed he’d been their entrée into Jokers posting. Even lurkers came out to say what an impression he’d made on their lives.

How do we handle three such deaths in such a short span of time? We grieve. Tonight, Saturday, November 12, 2005, we have a memorial for DJ in chat, at 11 EST. Prior to that we’ll have a F&F game in his honor. After that?

We’ll never forget TXgent, UnkleKevin, and DJmatt. That goes without saying. Their legacy is words, humor, photography, and love. They’ll never be far from us; laugh at a post, UK and DJ are there laughing with you. Open the Jokers calendar. See the beautiful waterfall, and TXgent is right there with you.

They’ll always be in our hearts, just a wing and a thought away. They can’t reach their keyboards anymore, but I bet they have the world’s fastest Internet connection where they are Grieve, we will. But they’ve gone to a better place, none of them are in pain. They’re the angels on my shoulder as I type this, and the song in my heart that I hear even now.

And Jokers will go on living, loving and always laughing: an enduring community that has suffered losses, and will be stronger and wiser because of it.

By DevinePoet

I shall not pray with head bowed
but will look up to heaven’s sky
And watch for three white doves
as they begin to fly

They are not gone from this place
they live on in all their words
I will remember them then
as I watch those wing’d birds

Their humor graced these pages
their hearts open and lovingly kind
They played the hand God dealt them
strong in spirit and in mind

Read their words if you dispute
the facts will remain ever clear
TxGent, UncleKevin and DJ
ever present, always here.