Thoughts from Deep Water

I want to tell you about this ‘experience’ I had in the middle of the pond this afternoon. I was starting to sink. My legs were drifting down toward the pond floor. Perhaps I came to the part of the pond which was exposed to the breeze, though I hadn’t remembered their being one when I arrived, but I saw the ruffled surface as I turned my head. The breeze always makes the swimming more challenging, as though the smallest ruffles are like the swell of an angry ocean. Today it was an small swell.

My mind drifted in and out of memories which is the way of it, but not before I told myself that given my failing physical strength, I would have to rely on mind power to swim me home.

This is when I imagine swimming in deep water can be the most dangerous. The point you realize you are tiring, and looking around, you see only water. Water and distant shore. To your right, to your left, ahead, and you know that you do not want to look behind from where you have come, as it feels like it’s a long way. You are nowhere near the shore and there is still a long way to go.

Lose your cool now and you could easily lose your breath and flounder.
And I already felt like my strength is floundering…

Then the mind thing set in. Buddhists call it the ‘monkey mind’. It was about my day…running from the PMC Kids Ride in Bedford to the Grocery store, the washing, the post office. Running, all so I could get a swim in before I returned to the hospital for the night to be with my daughter. Remembering Monday when she was transferred to the ICU with a growing pericardial effusion, remembering the five strong senior physicians who accompanied us down to the Cardiac Catheterization Lab so they could drain it. The ‘travel bag’ with ill defined equipment in it, loaded onto the end of her bed. I knew what it meant. They had talked about the effusion becoming so large it might put too much pressure on her heart…..
Then her telling me when we arrived there that she had been hearing gospel music all morning…gospel music…in her head…Fear sliced through me like a knife. Keep swimming, keep swimming I tell myself. I have been doing this long enough to know to just-keep-swimming
So I did. Stroke after stroke. Until…I was hearing something. Trumpets. I was hearing trumpets in my head. I shuddered. Not wanting to know. Then it struck me that if it were a sign, like the one I was sometimes asking for, from the spiritual realm, then, perhaps I really didn’t want to know what the future would bring…

After all, the gospel singing…The trumpets…They sounded like a fanfare. Joyous.

Perhaps it was a good sign for my daughter, for the outcome of her bone marrow transplant…as we wait another week to see her new cells come in…

But you know, I think I would prefer not to know. I think I would just prefer to keep swimming…the way we all do in our lives, one arm over the other…taking each stroke, each day, as it comes.


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