Back in February, I made a foolish decision to leaving work early. The afternoon heat was beaming onto my window, which in turn was magnified from 30 degrees celcius to what felt like 100! On arriving home, I headed down to the beach for a swim. The cool ocean breeze coupled with the fresh clear water has always acted as natural medicine for me.
As most of you who know me are aware, my beach of choice is Coogee, just down the road from where I live.
I thought something wasn’t right when the low tide, coupled with the big waves had whitewash 5 foot high. To avoid this and the excessive amounts of seaweed, I swam out a little further (about 50m from the waters edge). Instead of being able to rise over the waves calmly, I continued to get smashes by 12 foot monster waves.
Treading water and utterly exhausted, with arms and legs cramping, and being crushed under another monster wave, I thought that I was getting ready to meet my Maker… and at that point, I felt a behemoth of a wave hit me with great force… I felt seaweed wrapped around my neck, I opened my eyes to see more seaweed around me, I held my breath for as long as I could…
The movies get you to think that your life flashes before your eyes… Mine didn’t. I saw Mary. My parents. I saw grief and dispair in their eyes. I heard Mary crying… and then I heard the voice of my recently deceased best mate, Dave Coburn saying
“You haven’t finished working in the quarries my Brother!”
I saw myself in a coffin and heard people say “how disappointing!”
I felt lifeless… Paralyzed by fear! I reached up to the my throat and untangled the seaweed that was strangling me and swam like a crazy man to the surface.
Emotionally charged, yet physically depleted, I managed to bodysurf along a few waves til I could lay my feet firmly in the sand, then slowly, trudged my way out of the water to where my towel awaited me.
I wrote the majority of this while in a state of shock, still coughing up water and feeling like if I had waited any longer, I would not have been here today.
I remember thinking, that I never want to see the faces of my soon to be wife, and parents filled with such grief, nor do I want to disappoint those who put their trust in me.
Have you ever thought you were going to die?
Have you done anything different since that moment?