Celebrating Life – Friday Harbor, WA

We set afire some prayer balloons for Sammy.


In death we see the preciousness of life… And so it is with Sam.

I setup the tea bus outside the memorial knowing that it was going to be full of faces of my childhood community – many faces that I had not seen in years. Even in knowing I’d be seeing so many old friends, I could never expect to know what that experience was to bring.

Brothers and sisters, friends and lovers

But of course, partly because we were gathered because of death, but also because an island grows a tight community, we shared food and sipped tea like to was Thanksgiving. There were many tears, but smile and laughter were more abundant.

We drank Peace Tea all evening, which was the last tea Sam drank on the tea bus on Halloween.

At one point Sam’s sister came up to me and asked if I was Joe… Yes, I am… She held out a plastic bags of an herb I wasn’t familiar with. Sam and I picked these on the Kenai Peninsula this summer. I was supposed to send it to him when they dried, but I didn’t. It’s Labrador Tea. I know he’d want you to have this because he loves what you do… And we hugged…

Many smiles… Danielle and Jacob

Old friends

People watch the prayer balloons rise into the night

Todd and others prepare for takeoff.

The balloons disappear into the darkness

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