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Drowning- the experience
By Tony DeLorger © 2011
My left foot slipped on the oil spill, my right foot, in an attempt to stabilise me caught the pier and I hit my head on the way down. I was dazed and rolled to get up, unknowingly sending myself into the water. I remember the weeds brushing my face as I went down, my arms flailing, confused as to which way was up.
The weeds were now around my arms and legs and the more I struggled the more entangled I became. My breath was running out and panic set in. I thrashed my head and body about trying in vain to dislodge myself, but it was too late. I felt my brain screaming for oxygen and my heart wasd pounding like never before.
As I looked up shards of light radiated through the water, the rippling surface like bobbing crystals shimmered overhead. The soft blue infusion felt inviting and in a strange way, safe. But my body was dying yet I was becoming calm. I then instinctively opened my mouth and drew in the water as if it were air. It filled my lungs and I could feel the weight of it. I did not gag or splutter, simply went still, calm.
I felt suddenly weightless as a numbing darkness filled my mind and I slowly became unconscious, my eyes and vision seemingly receding in my skull, disappearing within me. Blackness prevailed, and the slow and steady ceasing of my heart followed.
I was gone, bodiless, and breathless with only an all-consuming awareness, witnessing a flashing slide show of memories and visions. As they passed I heard whooshing sounds as if accompanying the snippets of my life. I saw my mother and father when I was a kid, my first dog, my friends and adventures each one like a parcel on a passing freight train.
The confusion gently receded and a warm nurturing darkness consumed me. I rested within it, unwilling to move or be anywhere else. Then I heard distant voices; they seems frantic, distressed. I didn’t want to hear them, everything was so peaceful, but they kept coming, louder and louder. And I could feel my chest, heavy, being pressed, weighted down. It was uncomfortable and it made me want to breathe. I gasped and felt my lungs respond, heaving.
I coughed and spluttered and felt water pouring out my mouth, and I trying to breathe through it. Finally a breath and my eyes suddenly arrived in the front of my skull. Still spluttering, I was on my side, a hand gently patting my back, as I opened my eyes. “Welcome back,” I heard a voice say, and I realised I was on the Whaf.
I didn’t know who these people were, but they saved my life. At that moment I wasn’t all that happy about it, wrenched back from such a comforting and tranquil rest. But when I was able to think clearly, everything returned and I was grateful for a second chance. It seemed so easy to slip into that world of water, beyond the troubles of life, beyond contention. I will never forget the day I drowned.