The Reverend Allison Barrett

Loving the World with Words


Dave Hanley and the Sharks

I wrote this simple ritual for the scattering of ashes for a wonderful man named Dave Hanley.

Dave was the beloved husband of Nicole, the adoring father of Sophia, and a vibrant and loving man whose “mad love” inspired so many to give back to their community.

Dave’s tragic death in the fall of 2017 was a shock to all who knew and loved him and his co-creation of “Pop Up Hamilton” and many other contributions to his adopted city resulted in his being posthumously awarded “Hamilton Citizen of the Year” in 2017. 

Nicole said that Dave always joked that when he died, he wanted to be “fed to the sharks” and so, when the unimaginable happened, she was determined to fulfil Dave’s wishes. As it turns out, Osearch tags and tracks sharks and Canada’s Maritime provinces are summer mating and feeding grounds for many species, in particular, the impressive Great White Shark.

So, in the glorious closing days of summer of 2018, Nicole and Sophia and their close friends and family gathered off the shores of Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia to grant Dave’s wish.    All indications were that plenty of sharks were close by!

Dave Hanley – A Ceremony of Release

Sophia, we have come here to the ocean for a special reason
The ocean is where life on this planet began
And water is needed by every living thing

You know that Daddy always said he wanted to be eaten by sharks
Not when he was alive (!) but he joked and said that after he died
and couldn’t use his body any more, he wanted what was left to be fed to sharks

Daddy liked to feed everyone and also to make people laugh
And so he said that this was what he wanted
And because we love him, we want to do what he wished.

So we are here to put his ashes into the ocean, a place of wondrous life
Where his amazing life will become part of the ongoing life of the ocean
And maybe, just maybe, one of the magnificent sharks swimming near us
Will take in just a few molecules of Daddy`s ashes
And go on living and loving for a long time in the ocean

We, too need to go on living and loving
But with Daddy Dave`s spirit with us now instead of his body
It`s hard to be without him in the way we know and love
But we are strong and brave and we can do it!
With each other and with help from our friends and family

We will keep the best part of Daddy`s spirit with us forever
The way he was funny and kind, his energy and enthusiasm
The way he came up with great ideas and then did them
His laughter and the memory of his hugs and cuddles
The way he sparkled and shone whenever we came into the room!
And so many other ways his spirit made our lives wonderful.
So when we let his ashes go into the ocean,
we will take a little bit of magic sparkle dust,
sprinkle it on ourselves and each other.

To remind us that WE are the place where Daddy`s Spirit lives on the most!
Our joy, our fun, our strength, our memories, our lives and most of all,
Our Love, our Mad Love, our beautiful love, our big Dave Hanley Daddy love
Is what stays forever!

He wants us to be happy
We want to be happy
And we will get there.
The ocean was filled one drop at a time

Today we let him go
But take him into our hearts forever
Keeping what sparkles and shines
And watching always for his Spirit to
Light our way.

* * * * *

Sprinkle the magic dust on yourselves or each other

Release the pod

Celebrate a beautiful life well-lived
and a beautiful and courageous family
who made his wish come true!