My sweet friend & incredible artist @jonmarro created this beautiful tribute of my dad surfing for @countylineflorals on the ten year anniversary of his death & the first CLF Valentine’s Day. I’m so touched. Thank you JM. And thank you to everyone’s messages of love, sharing & support. Felt deeply. And keep going. 🙏🏼💐🏄🏼♂️🌊💕.
10 years ago. On this day. I woke up & had no idea that my dad would suddenly, with no health issues, or physical signs: die of a heart attack while visiting me in California. Valentine’s Day, 2011 at 60 years old, my dad Yancy Spencer III, drove to one of his favorite surf spots: County Line. He called me on the drive there: “It’s a knock down, drag out beautiful day, let’s get Valentine’s Dinner tonight. Just the two of us.” He pulled up. Went out in the water, caught a few waves, maybe an hour had passed, then he started feeling chest pains. Made it out of the water, told a passerby to call 911. Got back to my car, was changing out of his wetsuit, got his cell phone & called me again... I said “dad you don’t have to get out of the water, stay as long as you” (he interrupted me) “Abby, I’m having a heart attack, call 911 I’m at County Line, I love you & pray.”
He died moments later sitting in my car, holding my mother’s Valentine’s Day card she sent him. Looking out at the County Line waves. I was his last call.
I never thought I would survive it. His death. And somehow I did. In fact, I would say it grew me up, broke me down, woke me up, made me stronger & more of who I truly am. Healing is a choice. I am in process. Grief a strange bedfellow. An integrated life & whole hearted living: a journey. I’m so grateful to have loved & known him in this life. We made the most of our 29 years as father/daughter... I hope to carry on his spirit. I see him in the waves. I hear him in the birds. I feel him in the flowers.
My dad is buried in my hometown of Gulf Breeze, Florida... but he lives in on at County Line.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other”
doesn’t make any sense.
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.”