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February 06, 2019

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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

Always Smiling: We've Lost One of Our Brightest Lights But We Celebrate Charlotte Gilbert's Life

One week ago today (on Wednesday morning, January 30, 2019) I was in a hotel room in Las Vegas checking email and Facebook posts before heading out for the final session at this year's NamesCon Global conference. That's when I read a post that was such an unexpected punch to the gut that I immediately felt physically ill. For the past several months, friends of domain industry veterans Brian and Charlotte Gilbert (two of the nicest, most genuine people you could ever hope to meet) have been following Brian's detailed, loving account of their journey

to and through very high risk transplant surgery that Charlotte finally underwent last week. With Charlotte throwing everything she had into this unbelievably grueling battle, many of us were certain she was going to prevail, especially when she survived the surgery and her first steps in the recovery process were on track. Then there was a sudden turn for the worse and Brian had to share the heartbreaking news that one of the most instantly likeable people any of us has ever known had passed. 

Charlotte, who wrote a blog at the appropriately named DomainQueen.com website, was one of those rare people whose personality and ever present smile was all it took to light up every room she entered. I first met her and Brian at a TRAFFIC conference over a decade ago. While I never got to know her as well as her close friends (who call her Charlie) have, she made an indelible impression on me, as she did on everyone she met, that never went away. 

Charlotte Gilbert never had to "put on" a happy face - she was born with one that never went away. This photo was taken on the September 2011 DNCruise (a domain conference that was held on a cruise ship). If that ship had sunk I'm sure we all could have floated to the surface on her buoyant personality alone. 


Above (left to right): Brian Gilbert, Mike Robertson and Charlotte Gilbert at the September 2008 TRAFFIC Conference in New York City. That was the year that Robertson, the Director of Business Development at Fabulous.com, first met the Gilberts and they remained very close friends from that point on. Last weekend Mike raised thousands of dollars in Charlotte's name by running a distance race in Florida put on by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association.

Below: There is that trademark smile again as Charlotte Gilbert (2nd from left) huddled with friends at a party in the cabin of a cruise ship during the 2011 DNCruise through the Caribbean.

While losing Charlotte was devastating enough, it also left us with a deep sorrow for Brian who was one of the most devoted husbands I've ever known. He was at her side every step of the way and always kept their many grateful friends up to date on how things were going as they went through Charlotte's treatment and surgery. A big part of the nausea I felt when the news came was being unable to even imagine the sense of loss Brian would be dealing with. I wanted to immediately send condolences of some kind but I couldn't find the words needed to express the emotions that surround such a life shattering event. I finally realized I wasn't going to come up  with any because there aren't any. The best I could do was acknowledge that and try to convey it in this note about how greatly the Gilberts impacted all of us who were fortunate enough to meet them and how they will continue to impact us in the future:

"This is so heartbreaking I think it is beyond anyone's ability to describe. However, I hope the outpouring of love for Charlotte and you in all of these comments brings you some solace and peace Brian. They show what an amazing and instant impact she had on everyone she met - she was truly a blessing to all of us left behind, no matter how brief our encounters with her were. In your complete devotion and care for your beautiful wife you have similarly inspired and blessed us in a way that words could never adequately convey. We will forever be in your and Charlotte's debt for showing us the best of what the human spirit is capable of."

Brian posted this photo of him and Charlotte when he notified friends of her passing. Charlotte never stopped smiling and I'm convinced she never will. One of her great legacies will be that whenever friends think of her, they will smile too.

(Posted February 6, 2019)

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