The Iron Cross

Today, on the four-month anniversary of William's death, I find myself thinking a bit about one of my favorite surfers. Our family of novice but progressing surfers (well everyone but me is progressing) has been in awe and in love with Jay Moriarity since the movie Chasing Mavericks came out. Jay's Iron Cross wipeout in 1994 is still considered one of the worst, or best?, in big wave surfing history, immortalized on the cover of Surfer magazine the same year Mark Foo died surfing Mavericks. But Jay's actual wipeout - his massive fall from the top of a 30-foot monster, his board broken in half by the sheer force of a wave, and the hundreds of thousands of pounds of water hammering his body - simply pales in comparison to his reaction. He tried again. After being trapped underwater for nearly five minutes, Jay finally surfaced, retrieved his back-up board, and tried a second time. To me that seems like the most impossible, unlikely, and simply magnificent course of action he could have taken.

I think everyone has some version of Jay's Iron Cross wipeout in their life. For me I hope and pray that William's brain cancer will be the worst Iron Cross I experience. In my reaction I hope I follow Jay's lead. I hope - and I'm trying - to find a back-up board and continue living with purpose, love, and peace until it's my time. For Jay, his "time" was only 6 years after his famous wipeout, in a free diving accident in the Maldives. And while right now the utter randomness of that - surviving one of the worst wipeouts in history only to die on vacation - doesn't make any sense at all, I believe someday it will. Someday I'll see a picture much bigger and more beautiful than anything I can imagine here. But for now I'll remember Jay's words, spoken shortly before he died at 22, and try to live by them..

"You just gotta appreciate everything. That's one of the most important things in life is just really appreciating it because we only get to do this once and not for a long time so enjoy it." - Jay Moriarity