The next day there was more of the same: a bunch of people who reminded me of you. There were the good men who had become your brothers. There was your nephew and your four lovely nieces. There was your mother, and your sister, and your sister. We all tried to sing loudly, so that the singing might help them to stand.
After they buried your ashes (a simple, handmade box; a wild, clear blue sky), we drove back to the church for a lunch, where we all tried the sweet, green smoothies that helped sustain you those last months.
Everyone remembers these marathons of conversation: the man across the table said he’d come to Iowa and you’d block out a weekend so that you two could spend the whole time talking, breaking only for more coffee or liquor. The woman next to him remembered driving from Colorado to Iowa and back — you two stopped talking to sing along to all three discs of Les Misérables and then you talked the rest of the way.
So many of your friends are doing something strange and beautiful. Brenna was there with her husband. At their farm they make, raise, or grow almost everything they need. They continue to not pay war taxes or use computers. The man next to them said he’d worked in software until he figured out that the machines were winning; now he lives on a farm in New York with a bunch of ex-cons.
Frank compared you to Dorothy Day. Tim said he was honored to be one of your thousand closest friends. Joseph wrote you a poem. He spoke of how you held things in tension: a child’s hope of rescue, and a man’s perfect abandonment.