This week I faced death, not mine, but on somebody else’s face. I was in Hawaii on business, and while I have meetings during the day, I spend the early morning and evening in the water surfing. On Tuesday morning, I went out surfing early (time change and all, I was up at 4:00 am). I was in the water by about 5:30. It was just starting to get light and I did the paddle out to the surf break (Queens in Waikiki for those that know the area). I surfed to about 6:30, then started the long paddle in, about 1/4 mile.

About 100 yards from shore I saw a surfboard just floating in the water. It was just out of my way, but I decided to paddle over to it and drag it to shore. As I came upon the board, I saw a body attached to the surfboard leash, face down underwater. I grabbed the guy by the rash guard around his neck and pulled his face up. I was staring at death. His face was purple and I figured he was already dead. I yelled at another surfer paddling out, and he turned around to get somebody to dial 911.

I pulled him partway on to my surfboard with his face up, and started the paddle to shore. Once I got him to the shore several other people helped me drag him on the sand. A police office then arrived and started CPR. Then everybody arrived, with paramedics using a defibrillator, and then continuing CPR and breathing with the bag. They drove him away while still working on him. I had to fill out a report for the police. Later the news (read report here) said he died at the hospital, and he was 64. I was the “bystander” in the news report. I noticed he had a long scar down the middle of his chest like a open heart surgical scar. My guess is he died from a cardiac event, and the drowning was secondary.

This next week someplace in the world there will be a funeral for this man. While thinking about this, I wondered about my own funeral. I don’t want a typical funeral, and definitely don’t want a Mormon one. I want to be cremated, my ashes scattered in the ocean, with family and a few close friends saying nice (or not so nice) things about me on the beach. Also, I hope to die doing something I love, like this guy did.

What about you, will you have a funeral, and if so what kind? How many of you will be cremated?