Rom Leidner: Perhaps it's selfish, but when I heard about Jos, the first thing I thought about was my 9 month old daughter Ellie. If she were suddenly taken, I couldn't go on. What would be the purpose? She's only an infant, but I've already invested so much in her emotionally . . . no one expects to outlive their children.
I told Noa what had happened. She didn't need any reminders who Jos was, even though she'd only spoken with him 15 minutes at Andrew's wedding. He was so delightful when we met him there. I think Noa and I had just been fighting, and he came up to us smiling, and gave me a hug, and gave Noa a hug (after introductions, of course). Then he proceeded to flatter us both by telling Noa about my "semi-legendary" status, as Andrew's college friend. He just cleared the air. When he gave his reading during the ceremony, we wanted to cheer. It was so tasteful and smart. Noa danced with him after the wedding. She said he had, "simchat chayim". That's what they say in Hebrew, "happiness of life".
I wasn't close with Jos, after all. I had only met him in person once before. He came to visit Andrew at CU. I think he was a senior in high school then, if I'm not mistaken. I just remember being taken with him. Of course he was intellectual; I expected that from your family. But he was also gregarious, and funny, and interesting. He was just comfortable to be around. I remember how advanced he was, much more than I was at his age. He seemed like a college friend, not Andrew's little brother.
Jos gave Andrew a cassette tape of music that he had compiled. Music is very important for college students. It's like a social calling card. Jos had compiled such an eclectic and interesting collection of music. Things I'd never heard, (though I considered myself well acquainted). I remember listening to it over and over in the car, as Andrew and I drove out to California, to drop me off at the start of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Then there was the name change, and his exploits in Alaska. I followed that through you, I suppose. You were worried that he wouldn't return to college. I'll never forget something you told me around that time. You said that your sons didn't lack for self confidence; sometimes you thought they had too much. That struck me. I remember my emotional reaction . . . if you had been my mother, if I had had such a warm and involved parent. If -- I couldn't imagine the depth of self-worth it would have imprinted on me.