The Perfect Wave
Updated: Jan 4
I've been asked on many occasions if I have noticed any signs from Karina since her passing. I experience little things here and there, signs and messages as needed, but only when I'm quiet and listening. Still, nothing can compare to my one experience where Karina's presence was so obvious and blunt that I could feel it in every cell of my body, and will remember it for the rest of my life. It is described below, to the best of my ability, as my true experience is beyond my ability to put into words.
Karina is in the ocean. The morning before, we spread her ashes in the sea at the surf break that was near and dear to her heart, where she asked to go if this day ever came. Today, I woke up tired; the emotions of the day before still moved through me, and the mountain of the day ahead still loomed. Today was the day we paddled out to honor her and her love for the ocean and waves, and later celebrated her life and remembered her for all that she was to so many people. It was a big day.
I checked the surf forecast early in the morning, hoping to see mellow waves for an easy experience. Instead, I saw 4-5 foot waves coming in, less than ideal conditions to get a big group of mostly inexperienced surfers out past the waves. The fear of the event not going right, of not being able to honor her properly, crept up in me. I began the walk to the beach, a long enough trek to prepare myself to see the many that would come to participate in this day.
My thoughts were racing. What if people can’t get out? What if someone gets hurt? What if the whole thing fails? All of the what if’s were swirling and I feared missing an experience I was desperate to be perfect.
This lasted until I got to the top of the staircase at the north side of Pacific Beach, where I would descend and walk the beech to the meet-up point. As I approached the stairs, I felt a sensation in my shoulder as if someone were pulling me back, and I heard, “Hey! Everything is going to be okay. Don’t worry about it.”
It was the same voice that I had heard for years. As I worried, Karina always knew that things would always work out how they were supposed to. As much as I doubted, she trusted, and showed me over and over again how she was right to have faith.
In this moment, hearing her voice in my head, I felt a calmness settle over me. Everything will work out as it should. Karina wouldn’t want this to be easy for everyone anyways. She would take so much pleasure in seeing her friends and family struggle in the waves for a bit, but ultimately do what we came to do.
Her message was like a fire hose on the flames of my worries. As I walked the beach, I grew calmer and calmer and found a place of peace and gratitude as I approached the growing group of friends and family gathered on the beach.
When I arrived, the love poured over and through me. There was joy and happiness mixed with pain and sadness as I embraced so many people who cared for Karina and me.
The waves were not small, but I slipped into the trust that Karina always had, and felt it would all be as it should. The time came to paddle out.
I put a rose in my mouth, and along with her father, we led the group into the ocean, where Karina’s remains were already spreading through the currents around the world.
Side by side, we paddled as the sea parted. The waves crashed to our sides but left us a clear path all the way out beyond the break, where the rose in my mouth survived intact and my hair did not even get wet, an anomaly when paddling out through big waves at a beach break. I felt that we were guided; it was easy and smooth. Her father and I knew the ease was a gift from Karina. We paddled far beyond where the waves were crashing, making sure a wave wouldn’t disrupt our circle.
Others were not so lucky. Karina had to have her fun! I could sense her giggling, as she had her fair share of getting crushed by waves over the years, and was happy to share that with some of her non-surfer friends.
Ultimately, everyone made it out safely and we honored her exactly as she would have wanted. We whooped and hollered and tossed flowers into the circle in her memory. It was perfect.
As we wrapped up, most of the circle turned to paddle back towards where the waves were breaking to catch one back to shore. I stayed behind for some time to myself, with Karina, in her new home.
I turned out towards the sea. The sound of the others began to fade as they distanced, and I was alone, sitting on a board in the water, gazing out into the infinite ocean. The flowers thrown into the circle had drifted into a line, making a little trail of flower petals out to sea, upon which I was floating.
I felt every nerve in my body firing. The water was cold, but I couldn’t feel it. My heart was exploding. Not in sadness, nor in love, as I had known it. But in a more profound way that I had never experienced before. I felt her presence in the most visceral way I had ever felt it. It was all of the emotions- love, sadness, gratitude, pain, hope, fear, all braided together and expressing simultaneously in every cell of my body.
Looking down this trail of flowers into the sea, I spoke to her. I appreciated her. I absorbed her. I promised her. Then, a white rose brushed my leg. I picked it up, kissed it, tossed it into the sea, and said my goodbye.
As much as I wanted to stay there forever, acceptance bubbled through my body as I knew the moment was over and it was time to go. I turned around and looked up. In the break, still waiting for waves, were all of my friends and family. I saw everyone together in the water, doing what Karina and I had done for years, chatting as they waited for waves.
Still far beyond the break, I began my paddle toward shore. It was barely two strokes before I felt an energy in the ocean behind me. I peeked back to see a lone swell coming my way. Had this wave come any sooner, it would have torn our circle apart. But this wave came for me, a gift from my beloved, as the peak of the wave aligned perfectly with the line of flowers, the line I was still on, and with two more strokes, I was up on my feet.
It was the perfect wave, fast, clean, and crashing perfectly. As any surfer knows, when you catch that wave, nothing else matters. You snap into a moment of perfect presence. Already being in a deep connection with the energy of the ocean, my love for Karina, and gratitude for all of my community of support, it was all amplified the moment the wave picked me up and guided me with speed and power towards the shore.
Not all that common on a beach break, I had time on this wave. I got to look up and see my friends and family watching me ride the wave. I rode it through them as they hollered and savored the speed and space to turn on the face. When the wave finally crashed, I felt like I was being given a hug from the divine.
I got to my feet in waist-high water and immediately wept, shaking, as I began walking to shore. I was completely numb, in disbelief of what had just occurred, and overflowing with gratitude. Of all the moments where I have felt a connection with my mom and Karina beyond their transitions, nothing has ever compared to this experience. It quelled any possible doubt in my mind that she was anywhere but right here with me. She wanted me to know that. And she showed me with the gift of a perfect wave, at the perfect time, in the perfect place, with love all around.
It is a moment that I will cherish for the rest of my life. It is a moment that I will come to over and over again whenever my mind begins to doubt or fear that she is gone. Because she is not. Now my guiding angel, all I have to do is tune in and listen. She brings me the perfect people, perfect experiences, and perfect messages that I need to continue my own expansion. She continues to teach, inspire, and encourage me forward.
Until this moment, what was beyond death was a mystery to me, a theory based on my studies. Now I know, and it will change my life forever. Some may doubt or disagree. But that’s okay. I can feel it in a deeper way than can be explained in words. Perhaps it can’t be understood until one experiences it for themselves. Maybe that’s the point. Maybe that's why we’re here, why we experience the things we do.
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