Monday, September 06, 2004

back from the beach


Sniff... This link goes to the beautiful, peaceful house in Ocean Pines, MD that I have rented from a colleague,for three years in a row, as a splendid way to pack myself and assorted kids, siblings, grandkids, etc. off to the eastern shore for rest and relaxation. I fear I may never rent it again, much as I have grown to love it. I had a Close Encounter with the Atlantic Ocean just three days ago, the last day of my vacation, when I got swallowed up and dragged around by a riptide that almost drowned me. A wonderful lifeguard named Dave Haight from the Ocean City lifeguard crew pulled me out and got me safely to shore. That wasn't the worst, bad as it was. My son David came in after me when he heard me yelling "Help," got sucked into the same riptide, swallowed even more water than I did until he too was pulled out by a different lifeguard, to cheers (as we heard later) from people on the shore. He was blue and white in the face as he lay on the shore getting his breath back, and as a mother I never, ever want to experience something like this again. My biggest terror is not that I will do something stupid and die, but that I'll do something stupid and somebody I love will die.

Deo gratias, Deo gratias, Deo gratias for my life and David's. But I feel just like I did after my son Simon died suddenly of meningitis 22 years ago. The line between life and death is thin, thin, thin, and we take our lives too much for granted. We both thought we might not make it out of the ocean. We spent a couple of hours in the ER in a hospital in Berlin, MD, got oxygen, chest X-rays, and all checked out before they released us and we took a taxi back to the beach to get Dave's car and drive back to our cool rental house.

Now I never want to go in the ocean again... or, rather, I never want to see anyone I love go into the ocean again. I now have such a healthy respect for its power that I know I will forever be careful, if I ever venture out. I know Dave will also. But the other kids, let alone the grandkids... no, no, no, I will be a wreck if I am ever present when any of them go out any further than knee-deep. I fear I have ruined the beach for myself.

Me, me, me. It's all about me. But no, really, I could wax philosophic or even theological but at the moment, 78 hours after the fact, all I can wax is shaken to the bottom of my being.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank God you and your son are okay, Rae! When we first moved to California, right after first grade, my family went to the ocean. I'd never seen it before and didn't know anything about undertow. I got sucked in and was saved by my older sister -- I was not in anywhere near the danger you were but I remember the fright!

Take care of yourself -- God has more work for you to do. -- Berni