Joe died yesterday.

His real name was Jon. He was a gifted photographer. He was sensitive, intelligent, opinionated, and loyal. He had green-gold eyes and a mischievous smile. He was my best friend. We loved each other as much as two people are capable of loving. I can’t fathom a world without him in it.

Jon was very troubled and very sick, especially in the weeks before he died. Life was a battle for him. Jon endured a lot of pain, and those of us who loved him endured it too. I’m relieved that he’s not suffering anymore.

Jon in Lesotho, September 2010.

Last night I sat at a friend’s house and watched the sunset. The clouds were so beautiful. Jon always told me that he loved to photograph clouds more than any other subject.

I took some photos with my blackberry. Blackberry cameras are really terrible and these photos do not convey what I actually saw.  But here they are anyway.

I am not a religious person. But I like to think Jon was in those clouds somewhere.

I’m glad I got to take pictures of clouds on the last day of Jon’s life.

Jon shot thousands of beautiful photos. Here are a few of my favorites.

Clarens, South Africa, looking across the border into Lesotho. This photo was the wallpaper on Jon’s computer when I first met him in March 2007.

Nkoaranga Orphanage, Tanzania, March 2007. This photo was taken on the first day I ever saw Jon shoot. It was the day I fell in love with him.

Kalahari Desert, Botswana. I’m not sure when Jon shot this, but I know he was on a camping trip with his brother and it was a really happy time for him.

This was one of Jon’s favorite photos. I’m not sure when he took it.

Mkhulamini Health Clinic, Swaziland, July 2008. This is my favorite of all Jon’s photos. I am there somewhere, in that crowd on the left.

I’ll have more to say eventually but this is all for now. If you can, please give the person you love most a hug tonight.

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