By Jessica Huong
Have you ever been on the verge of death? I can honestly say I have. It’s a very scary experience, and the memory will probably stay vivid in your mind for your whole life – it might even affect how you live your life.
When I first experienced this, I was very young – around four to five years old? Maybe even younger, in fact. I was on a trip with my family and several relatives. These details are pretty blurry, so I can’t recall where we went. But, what is clear is that there was a swimming pool.
After a while of having fun with my family around the area, we all decided to go swimming. I was excited, but I really had never seen a swimming pool before in my life! We got everything ready and headed to the pool in our building. It was super crowded, but it looked amazing to me. There was so much water, and it was so blue, ever more so than the ocean! I couldn’t believe my eyes.
When we arrived, I saw a bunch of my older cousins immediately splash right into the pool as cannonballs. I thought it was really cool, and looked like so much fun! So, of course, I jumped in right after them, hoping to join in.
But that was the deep end. I couldn’t swim.
Usually, when you see somebody about to drown, they’re flailing their arms around the water’s surface and screaming, right? But I wasn’t really sure what was going on, so I just sunk down into the water quietly, like a stone. Nobody noticed.
This is the really vivid part: I began to realize that I was drowning when I was already sinking, my face a few feet deep into the water – this was a long distance from the surface for little four-year-old me. I finally began to freak out and move my hands and legs around in hopes that somebody would notice, but I was too far under the water!
It seemed like an eternity that I was in that pool, sinking, unable to breathe, and feeling scared. In my head, the image is still as clear as a spring day. Remembering it actually makes me kinda anxious!
Luckily, one of my aunts was in the water and saw me in there when she was swimming. She hurriedly went down to get me, and the was the end of the eternity for me.
This is where it gets blurry again – what did I do when she pulled me out of the water? Did I cry? A lady who I didn’t know called my mom over, and according to her I was scared and shaking a lot. Of course, I can’t remember this part – this is based on what my mom told me.
So, how has this experience impacted my life? To be completely honest, I’m not too sure. When I went to summer camp in around 2012, I remember hating the water with a passion. That same year, I took some swimming lessons and got the basics down, and I didn’t hate it anymore. I do dislike swimming and being in the water, but I’m not afraid of it, so it’s just a simple preference.
Take this little story for example. Summer of 2015 – my family went on a trip to Cuba. We went to a beach, and in the ocean, my mom and I stepped into a very deep pit while nobody was around. My mom had almost drowned, but I used my basic swimming skill to swim us to the shallow waters. That, also, has become a really clear memory to me – what if I never took swim lessons? Who would be there to save us?
With all that said, I don’t hate swimming, and I’m not afraid of the water. I can swim fairly well now, I just prefer not to – and that’s fine! So, I can gladly say that I don’t think my near-death experience has greatly affected me. To be honest, I’m actually glad it happened, so that I have something to write about for this article.
If I were to fall into the deep end of the pool ever again, there’s no doubt that I would be able to calmly swim back up and towards the edge. I don’t let my near-death experience change how I live my life, and I never will!