Scattering ashes at sea and Mauna Loa. Impermanence

We scattered the ashes of our sister in law at sea on Sunday off the Big Island of Hawaii. She died at 42 after 5 years of fighting cancer. While she was petite and looked pixieish, she fought like a warrior and never once played the victim. ‘Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage, rage against the dying of light.’ She fought long and hard.

I was just as glad to be videoing the scattering of the ashes as I couldn’t do it myself. It was sombre watching her husband (Sue’s brother) scatter Karen’s remains in the ocean along with her favorite teddy bear and flowers from leis.

In the background, the very active volcanic Mauna Loa towered over the Big Island, with the even taller Mauna Kea nearby. Both are over 13,000 feet tall. But their permanence is just an illusion, a snapshot in this particular moment. The Big Island was formed by volcanic activity starting miles under the Pacific, and now those two peaks are 13,000+ feet above the ocean. All the Hawaiian islands were formed by volcanoes and originally consisted of lava, which over eons has broken down into soil.

Karen’s life. The Hawaiian Islands. It all sometimes seems permanent and solid but really, we’re all just dancing on air, aren’t we?

Carpe diem. Seize the day. We never really know what’s coming next.

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