One with the Ocean

On Thursday, we came together as a community to say goodbye to Frank.

Frank lived well, playfully and with passion. He was much loved by his wife, family and community. There were many beautiful reflections on his generosity, kindness and love of life, of being one with the ocean.

One of his sister-in-laws, Malia, wrote, ‘An Ode To Frank’ which she has given permission for me to share three parts of the whole here.

I’d like to begin this ode to Franco with the simple things that gave him a peace of mind and that he so inherently shared with our family. The ocean.

The ocean provides life on earth. Life as we know it, perceive it and breathe it. From the microscopic coral polyps that become kaleidoscopic reefs, to the swells we chase, it is a biological fact of connectivity that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, therefore we have salt in our sweat and tears.

We all come from the sea but we are all not of the sea. Those of us who are, we the children of the tides must return to it. The big blue is the lifeblood and lungs to us, sustaining life on the planet, in turn what it emits we absorb, when it breathes we breathe vice-versa, it’s a structure that withholds billions of kinetic energy frequencies, a motion and process that produces waves which travel so far to be what we know as surf. There is a lot to be said for the nomadic watermen and women folk that seek the contentment and adrenaline of swells, their mindfulness in the simple pleasures of life, the encapsulated freedom of coexisting with the lifeforce that can give or take lie from you at any instance.

Frank and I would sit in the line-up conversing about exactly that and how we both thought that surfing is to be one of the most privileged forms of lifestyle and essence of pure connection. It introduces a tonic of adventure, a serum that runs through our veins creating a multitude of lifelong stories and relationships, inbuilt strength and levels of physical and mental challenges, the ocean inevitably becomes an antidote of refuge for many, in recent years it became a church for Frank and his journey.  (by Malia K Rouillon)

We all learnt that home is not where you are from, it is where you belong. Some of us travel the whole world to find it. Others find it in a person. We all found it in Frank. (by Malia K Rouillon)

No matter the circumstance or his ill-health he always provided such kindness, care, a positive attitude and he’d always be there for us. I think about the times he visited me in the hospital, a sad place of dread for both of us but somehow, he managed to make us both laugh. A distinct memory I have of that time is of us cutting hot laps in my wheelchair throughout the corridors attempting wheelies despite the shaking heads of nurses. And from that instance and our time together the wisdom he will leave for us, is this:

When someone tells you to “live today like it was your last”- it doesn’t necessarily mean jump out of a plane. It means share yourself with someone you love, laugh, be garishly honest, feel proud about something, squeeze someone a little tighter, kiss someone a little longer, live a little less fearlessly, make someone worthy feel special. Enjoy a sunset or a new song. Because whatever the reason someone truly significant and wonderfully special may have left the world today and you’ve been lucky enough to see another day through. Because what will matter is not what you bought but what you built, not what you got but what you gave. What will matter is not your success but your significance. What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught. What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example. What will matter is not your competence, but your character. What will matter is not how many people knew you but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone. What will matter is not your memories but the memories that live on in those that love you. What will matter is how long you will be remembered and for what. Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident, it happens by choice. We are a flash in time but our impact is forever. (by Malia K Rouillon)