by ERIK ORTON
My favorite part of the class was to lay on the ocean floor and stare up at the surface. The light shimmered across it, the same way the water sparkled from above, but with a muted, quiet kind of beauty. I was taking a scuba certification class and I was swimming along thirty feet below the ocean’s surface for the first time in my life. My body drifted with the surge in unison with the school of yellow fish. I looked a sea turtle in the eye as it swam toward me. We stayed below for the better part of an hour. I was in another world.
This week my friend, Wendy, passed away. She was young. My age : ) She has an amazing husband, David, and a daughter the same age as our Lily. She’d been battling a brain tumor for five years. She was a sweet, kind, beautiful person. She loved our girls and had them over often. Her family would come to our home and we would play music and sing together. Even when going through chemo treatments should would send us kind notes and make encouraging comments online as we went about our lives.
As I lay there on the ocean floor looking up I couldn’t help but think about how this world and that world are so close. I don’t know the physical location we go to once we die. I know our body stays here, but I believe our spirit lives on, and it goes somewhere. I believe it goes somewhere close, on the other side of the surface. We are the ones who are below water. We are breathing from tanks and the bubbles from our lungs always float up.
It’s a beautiful and inspiring place below the surface, but it’s not our natural home. Our natural home is above the surface, breathing air from the sky, green leaves rustling in the wind, the sun on our skin. I believe that’s where Wendy is right now. She’s above the surface, watching, smiling and waiting while we swim for the better part of an hour. We’ll all surface eventually. The tank only holds so much air. And then we’ll all be there together. I miss you, Wendy.
Say that I'm crazy or call me a fool
But last night it seemed that I dreamed about you
When I opened my mouth what came out was a song
And you knew every word and we all sang along
To a melody played on the strings of our souls
And a rhythm that rattled us down to the bone
Our love for each other will live on forever
In every beat of my proud corazón
We watched Pixar's Coco this week. What a beautiful story about family, death and love. If you haven't seen it, check it out (song audio below). Above are some of my favorite lyrics from the show. Something tells me Wendy likes this song too.