View From The Ridge

View From The Ridge

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dust to Dust

Ecc_12:7  Our bodies will return to the dust of the earth, and the breath of life will go back to God, who gave it to us.

Dad, age 42, with first grandchild, Chuck
This past August, the family said their final goodbyes to our dad, granddad and great granddad.  He passed away on the fourth of April this year, requested no services and asked that his ashes be spread in the Pacific Ocean.  My sister, Sharon, and I decided that since Hawaii was in the Pacific, that would fulfill the request.  Besides, the water off of Hawaii is a lot cleaner than off   Oceanside, Calif., where I'm sure he expected to have his ashes spread.

The Doser crew, winging their way to Hawaii.
Andy, Chuck, Stacia, Kris, & the eye of Lani

Charles and Stacia
A total of 15 family members and two wannabes made the journey to the Big Island of Hawaii to pay their last respects and have a time of family fellowship together.  And what a great time it was!  We used Dick and Sharon's condo and rented two others in the same complex at the Wiakoloa Beach Resort.  The first four arrived on 8-24, with nine more arriving on the 25th to help Chuck celebrate his 50th birthday in the 50th state. (Can't believe I have a fifty year old son).  The last four arrived on the 27th.  It was a minor miracle that we were able to find a 10 day window of time that 17 people from 5 states would be able to take time off from work or school.

On Sunday the 28th, we had a family gathering to remember Dad and share all the good memories we had.  I shared from the 23rd Psalm how fathers are like a shepherd to the family; providing, protecting, guiding and nurturing each member.  Dad was a good shepherd to our family, providing well for us, guarding and protecting us as best he could.  He was wise in giving us what we needed, not necessarily what we wanted.  He was always there for advice, but never interfered in our lives.  The family photo included here is his legacy, the results of two kids leaving Indiana and raising their two kids to the best of their ability.
The following day we took a catamaran out of Kona to spend a half day swimming with the spinner dolphins, spreading Dad's ashes and then doing some snorkeling.  Swimming with the dolphins was a highlight of the trip.
"Hey, where the heck did they go!!"
Picture taken by Andy with an underwater camera

Kris said that the dolphins came so close she could have reached out and touched them.

Spinner dolphins spend the night hunting at  depths  down to 3000 ft.  During the day they seek lagoons that have white sandy bottoms where they can rest and can see the shadows of enemy sharks.

From "spinner dolphin pictures and facts"

The Captain of our boat then took us out past the three mile marker to spread half of Dad's ashes.  Dick and Sharon will spread the other half later in the Sierra Mountains where Mom and Dad loved to spend time camping and fishing.

The captain then moved the boat slowly in a circle three times around the ashes - a Hawaiian tradition - as they gently spread in a gray cloud just under the surface of the deep blue waters of the Pacific.   Sharon had brought along a bottle of Dad's favorite scotch and poured some into the ocean and then it was passed around for a toast.  Dad was a cigar smoker for most of his life and a couple of those were lit up and passed around.

I had never been a part of spreading some one's ashes before, on land or sea, and really didn't have a clue what to do.  I did remember to make sure the boat was positioned upwind from me so that turned out OK. 

It was a surreal time while the boat was circling the ashes.  I had expected the ash to sink fairly quickly, but it remained just under the surface and slowly dissipated into a larger and larger gray cloud.  It was a very peaceful time as the sea, which was already fairly calm, seemed to become even calmer.

The other Mike, Merrill and Dick
We then went to a snorkeling area.  On arrival the word among the boat captains already there was that "Lucy" the tiger shark was somewhere around and to be on the watch for her.  She is a well known and frequent visitor but has not bothered anyone so far.   Us included.  Did make some just a tad nervous!

Sharon, Lani and Randy "the towel guy".  Dude, you have to spend more time in the sun!

Beth and Kirsti swimming with the dolphins

A special thanks to Lesley and Andy for the use of their pictures.  Great job!

All in all, it was a perfect day.  More to follow later.       Q


  1. Very touching entry, Mike; glad you all could make it such a special time, one no one will ever forget---a family memory. Love ya.

  2. We are so glad that everything went so well--such a difficult but beautiful way to honor who your Dad was to each of you. Beautiful family by the way too! Love you guys.