A portrait I took of Gregory Alan Isakov last night while we were hanging out and talking after Bunbury ended. Not only is he an amazing musician, but an all around great guy.
The old Conor to-do list:
The new Conor to-do list:
At a few people’s request, here is the text for the eulogy I wrote for my friend Conor, who killed himself in the early morning hours of Dec. 27, 2013. I wrote this on the bartop at Shine in Boulder, Colorado, the night before my friends said goodbye to Conor by pushing a little Viking ship full of fireworks into the San Francisco Bay. Since I wasn’t there to read it, my friend Amani read it for me, using a bunny rabbit hand puppet she picked out for the occasion. I hear she and Eulogizing Hare did a great job.
Conor left behind a very young and very promising little daughter, Finn Turing. I am not a big fan of babies in general but it is hard not to thoughtfully poke this one and listen to her peculiar noises and squint into her huge and curious eyes and wonder how Conor could possibly skip out on such a little ball of wonder. Our friends have put together a trust for Finn that you can donate to. It will eventually go toward her education and future. It’s not getting any of us her dad back, but it’s something.
Death isn’t funny.
Death is absurd. It’s absurdity that’s funny.
It’s absurd that Conor isn’t here with us. Conor was many things — brash, enthusiastic, stubborn, kind, often fragile, often drastically underclothed — but he wasn’t one to skip a party.
It’s ridiculous that he’s not here. It’s so strange, it’s almost funny. Of course he’s here, right? He has to be. How else could the world work?
Losing him as suddenly as we did only multiplies the absurdity. Conor walked out and left all of us asking a million questions: What the hell, dude? How could you go? How could you feel so alone when so many people came all the way out here, sacrificing prime brunch hours, just for your sake? Who’s gonna come out at 10 p.m. on a school night to finish my fries and listen to me complain about boys? How could you ditch Ava? How could you possibly leave Finn? How could you not guess at the size of the hole you’d leave in our lives? Why aren’t you here, so I can smack you upside the head so hard you see stars and then hug you until I run out?
They’re impossible questions. They are, in a word, absurd. They don’t really need answers for us to keep going and I doubt the answers would help. You might as well answer them with interpretive dance, and I can guess Daed’s feelings on that. You might as well answer them with a Magic 8-Ball. Would that help? Ask again later.
Me, I keep asking. I ask and I ask because honestly, I want a fight. A fight seems fitting for someone I argued with almost as much as I loved.
It’s absurd to want a fight. It’ll get less absurd in time. It’ll get easier to remember Conor by his kindnesses, his honor, his lunatic brio, instead of his leaving. I’ll forgive him, eventually. But today, I get the last word:
Conor, you do not have my permission. You do not have my forgiveness. Motherfucker, I wasn’t done with you.
None of us were. There no way your being gone will ever fit in our lives. You weren’t just yours; you were ours, all of ours, and you can’t leave, not yet. You can’t because everywhere we go, we’re carrying you with us. We loved you.
Dancing cloud over the Flatirons, Boulder, Colorado.