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I Almost Died Three Years Ago

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My family and I went on a cruise to Mexico and Cozumel.

Like every family trip it was fraught with eventualities but all and all we were having a lot of fun the first couple of days.

Then it was announced on the PA system, that there was a tropical system headed our way but that we will be ok as we will be traveling away from it.

We got to the island of Cozumel and debarked with some pretty intense clouds on the horizon. We though that it was a good idea if we made the best of it by going to the beach.

We chartered a bus and went to a nearby small resort that offered snorkeling, Free WiFI and free food.

When we got there, we put our clothes away and headed for the beach. I snapped this picture of the ominous sky above us at the resort.

Somewhere in Cozumel…

The boys and I headed straight for the beach while my wife sat down at the restaurant and took advantage of the Free WiFi.

The people at the resort fitted us with some life preservers and we went on snorkeling.

At first, everything was fine and we were enjoying the beautiful and clear waters with lots of marine life, but then the water started to get a little choppy. I told my guys to head back for the beach and two of then did just that, as it was time for lunch.

My son Carlos and I remained as we were making some underwater videos with my newly acquired Sony FDRX-3000.

Thats’ when things started to get really bad.

As I went up for air and it was raining. I turned around and I could barely see the shore. I realize I was been pulled by the undertow.

Started swimming and promptly realized that I was getting really, really tired and was not making any headway.

The sea started to get choppier and choppier and the waves were covering me every time I came up for air. I was drowning.

That is when I noticed that my life preserver had somehow deflated and it was not helping me stay afloat.

I deliberated my options. I could try screaming, but I was so far away from the shore that I doubted anybody could hear me. Everybody was at the restaurant anyways, so is not like there were people on the beach that could hear my screams for help.

I was drowning

I decided to rely on my years of swimming training and though that the best course of action was to swim using a combination of Breaststroke and Backstroke.

All I can think up was: “Slow and Steady, Ed… Slow and Steady…

It took a really long time to reach the shore and when I got there I was so tired that I almost passed out from exhaustion. Every breath was like a confirmation that I was alive. I had made it back, back alive and back to my family.

As I stood up, my legs could barely hold me, so I colapse on a beach chair and tried to recover as much as I could before heading out to the restaurant to meet my family. I decided it was best, if I didn’t say anything at the time and waited for a better moment to let them know.

We ate our lunch and headed back for the boat as the weather was getting worst and worst. That tropical front later turned out to be Hurricane Franklin.

On the boat, I told my wife about what happened and she was really mad at me for not letting her know before. I was just so glad I was alive that none of that mattered.

Smile, Breathe and go slowly
— Thick Nhat Hanh

This will stay with me for the rest of my life. I have never been more afraid. Nothing compares to that. I have though about it and recalled the feeling numerous times. I like to think that I am not afraid of dying but this was a vivid reminder that we all are.

Today’s daily quote reminded me of that. We have to appreciate every minute of our lives and enjoy them as if they are our last. Slowly, Slowly…

Namaste.