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He Loves You More

But what you cannot bear to see is all that you will find ... as mine is now and always yours, and yours is always mine ... From "For Wayne" by Mara

This is the page in my son Josh's collage journal that he randomly opened to while talking with a friend named Melissa last week. Josh didn't know it at the time, but it was the day before Wayne (pictured in the center) would die and just hours before he received a phone call from Floyd that Wayne's death was imminent. "Is that your father?" Melissa asked, pointing to Wayne. Josh smiled and explained how Wayne was like a second father to many young people, including to him.

Mixed with the sadness of beginning a month long separation from my husband has been the death of such a friend, a well loved and iconic member of the Floyd community, and the father of one of my closest friends, Mara.

Josh came from Asheville for the memorial on Sunday. Joe's last message left on the answering machine before starting his month of silence in meditative retreat was: "I know you and Josh are at the memorial for Wayne. I just want you to know that I'm very much alive and very grateful that I have such an awesome family."

It's strange to be so uplifted while also grieving the passing of someone dear. The memorial did that. The hug I shared with Wayne's wife Vera made me realize I had been holding my breath for days. Her loving embrace allowed me to let it go. Awkward even under the best of circumstances, I felt accomplished that my first face-to-face words to Mara since her father died made her laugh ... "I know this is not what you'd expect me to say, but I just want you to know that I have peanut butter balls (my traditional survival food of choice that I'm known to carry) in my pocketbook for you and Kyla (her daughter) if you need them."

Witnessing the loving care expressed between Mara and her siblings was a testament to Wayne. Katherine - friend and ceremonialist who has been guiding so many in our life passages over the years - spoke to us of Wayne's life. Her words rang true like the ringers Wayne made in his favorite game: horseshoes.

The song Scott Perry played, "You Got a Friend," touched such a nerve that the whole chapel room of people peeped in to sing along ... slow and low with lyrics that expressed the epitome of Wayne's life and the message he would want to leave us with. Mara's sonnet brought a chill and Kyla's heartful words about her grandfather settled in my heart.

When the service was over, I stood for a long time on the funeral parlor porch and watched friends, old and new, who were gathered on the lawn hugging and talking to each other. I took in the sight and felt blessed to be a part of such a loving community. I thought of Katherine's words, which began:

Wayne's tapestry has never been small. His heart extended with many threads and layers and diversity ever expanding his connections to family, friends, community, and environment. Do we have enough words to express how large was the landscape this man moved through? Peacemaker, communicator, shapeshifter, counselor, coordinator, fun-loving, humanitarian, concerned citizen, listener extraodinaire. Wayne was a man who changed people's lives. He always made time for whoever needed him (sometimes to the frustration of his family who admits that friends would really be coming over to visit Wayne, not them.) I heard there was an estimated count of 85 young people (many of whom are here today) that Wayne made time for. He was father to many in this community. His non judgmental aura allowed him to be present to a wide variety of people, even in the same room. He was a forerunner of non-violent communication when it was not even called that!

Along with remembrances and revelations about Wayne's full life, Katherine spoke with humor of his fun loving nature. She reminded us of Wayne's choice to live simply with few material and emotional attachments, closing with ...

So, yes, Wayne would want you to have parties for him. Of course. But, he would also want you to be present to your life, care for those around you, deepen your own connection and honesty to yourself, and get your priorities straight! Life is to be lived. . . NOW. We shall all shepherd his spirit. He loves you more! He loves you more!

P.S. I don't know why my son, on the left in the photo, is wearing a wig, but I'm not surprised. That's Wayne's son Ben on the right. Wayne died from complications of esophageal cancer.

Update: Wayne's all day full moon epic party is set for Saturday, October 3rd. Anyone who loved Wayne Bradburn and his family is invited to share potluck, river dipping, bonfire storytelling, song and more, starting at 3 p.m.


So sorry for your loss, Colleen. I do not have peanut butter balls in my purse but I did just make some molasses pumpkin cupcakes...will that do?

I am so sorry for your loss, Colleen. Given your description of Wayne, your community has lost a wonderful person and leader.

Those cupcakes would work if we spread some peanut butter on them. Protein is key.


He will surely be missed by many people. I am sorry, Colleen.

hard for me in many ways - I feel all your emotionms and I lost 2 very dear men last week. One a talented mento to me , and the other a school mate..a season passes again.

Wayne's son looks a lot like Mara.
A touching entry and I am so sorry for Mara's loss. ox
PS How old was her Dad?

Wayne was 65. That was the age our nana was when she died.

i am so sorry to hear this, colleen. from the words you shared via katherine's commentary, wayne sounds like a remarkable person. please tell mara that a woman many miles away whom she does not know sends her my wishes that her memories will shower her with blessings of joy and love and laughter and will bring her peace through the coming days. whenever you write about mara i am always reminded she is someone i'm sure i would ike to know.

What a lovely tribute to your friend, Colleen.

My condolences at the loss of your dear friend, Colleen. Wayne clearly touched many lives, and I know he will be missed. A touching and beautiful post.

Scalp tingles. What a marvelous legacy to leave, so many people touched by acceptance, life paths better for Wayne being on it.

My condolences at the loss of your friend, Colleen. Friends like Wayne is one of life's treasure. What a nice tribute you made to a dear friend indeed.

Mara called me and invited me to the party. I do wish i could be there for it.

Hi Leigh, You'll be there in spirit.

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