As many of you may know from following me on social media channels, my father, Earl Kanter MD, passed away this week. People cope with grief in different ways. In an age of connectedness and networks, grieving online is a new way of expressing grief and there are different stages as my colleague, Sarah Granger, who is working on a book in topic points out.
My online grieving is focused on celebrating my Dad, what he loved, and looking for a way to make it bigger than just our family. I decided to focus on his love of the ocean and surfing. What could I do online to honor his memory and to help metabolize my grief? I came up with two ideas:
- An online fundraiser
- An online memorial event
I decided to do a fundraiser for Surf Rider Foundation because their mission closely aligns with something that my father loved: the ocean and surfing. I was introduced to Surf Rider Foundation during my first year as Visiting Scholar at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. I did this video with Chad Nelson who is in charge of their ocean conservation initiatives and Surf Rider Foundation has been featured in both my books. So, I know they are a very capable organization. I know that supporting their work to help protect the ocean — his love for ocean will live on through their work.
I set up an online fundraiser at Razoo called OceanLoveEarl and I have been astounded at the outpouring of generosity – without a direct ask. In four days, over $3,000 from 61 donors has been raised to support Surf Rider Foundation. Please make a donation to SurfRider Foundation in my Dad’s memory if you care about the ocean.
Virtual Paddle Out: #Ocean Love Earl – July 3, 2013
To honor my Dad’s memory and his love of the ocean, I am organizing a virtual “Paddle out” on Twitter and Facebook #OceanLoveEarl on July 3, 2013. If you are not familiar with surf culture, an offline paddle out is a memorial service in the water that surfers do to honor a fellow surfer who has passed away. The surfers paddle out to a suitable location with flower leis around their necks or with loose flowers (sometimes held between their teeth). The participants then get into a circular formation, hold hands, and silently pray. Sometimes they will raise their clasped hands skyward before tossing their flowers or leis into the center of the ring.
On July 3, I want join hands with people who knew my dad, surfers, and other people or organizations who care deeply about the ocean to celebrate his memory and great love for the ocean by tweeting or posting with the hashtag #OceanLoveEarl with a link to the fundraiser for Surf Rider Foundation, your favorite ocean story, or your favorite link that educates about ocean conservation. For me, it was my Dad. Jim Moriarty, the CEO of Surf Rider Foundation, wrote this wonderful blog post about reflecting on “Who Connected You To The Ocean?” to share why he loves the ocean.
I hope you will participate. If you are on Twitter or Facebook, you can sign up for A ThunderClap that will send a tweet or Facebook automatically on July 3rd to kick off the virtual memorial service.