Funeral Entourage (Credit: Karen O'Hearn and Tana Frie)

In 2007 I was living with a community of friends at a marina. There were a lot of guys named Dave living there, so we assigned them each a nickname to keep track of them. Dave Number Three or Flash as we called him, was a sweet and cheerful guy with a pocket full of plans for his future. Then one tragic day he was taken from us, killed in a senseless accident.

We arranged to have a burial at sea for him. His family flew out from Ontario and joined us at the Granville Island Marina from where we set off to a position between Point Atkinson and Point Grey. As we prepared to say a final few words about Dave, someone hollered that they could see whales in the water. We all rushed to the side of the boat to see a sight few people will ever see. A pod of whales had surfaced a few feet away from us. The sight was so beautiful, so stunning, so unexpected that it lifted our mood from somber and sad to hopeful and uplifted. It seemed a clear message from the universe that life is a cycle of transitions.

While we were watching them, Dave's mother took this time to go to the back of the boat and have a private moment with her son before releasing his ashes into the sea.

Moments after that, the pod set off to the north and one lone whale came right up to our boat, gently breathing twice through his blowhole as if saying goodbye, then swam off to join the rest of the pod.

As quickly as they had come, they were gone in a flash, taking Dave with them to a better place. I would like to think we are doing all we can to protect the waters that they are swimming in. I want nothing but the best for my friend Dave and his new family!

Please watch Karen O'Hearn's beautiful song she wrote for Flash and the accompanying video of the Orcas we saw that day.
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By Rhianna Featherstone

Vancouver, BC

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