“Mom, could you please get my snorkel?” My mind embraces the, “please” giddy with enjoyment of hearing that from both my boys. I stand up and head for the beach towels and bag to grab the prized snorkel. I glance at the ocean finding a sense of free peace and calm from its blue hue and movement. Reaching for the snorkel, I see a woman in the ocean floating face down about a hundred feet from shore. I search for her snorkel and realize she is not enjoying the fish… she has drowned. Sprinting to the water the burning sand melts away from my feet as I jump into the ocean. I swim to her and tap her on the shoulder with some wild hope that she will lift her head and yell at me for interrupting her swim. No movement. I turn her body over as foam rushes from her mouth and nose then place her head on my chest and start pulling her out of the ocean. I scream 911 and HELP through a mouth full of salt water and my voice is in my ears similar to screaming in a dream. Pulling her up to shore I can feel the pain in my skin as I drag her body over the coral, sand and lava rock. My body is shaking and immediately my auto pilot takes over remembering my CPR skills. The ocean has soaked her body and while trying to drain the water from her lungs the thoughts of hope rush through my mind. It is 3:00pm that time of day where the heat from the sun has swelled up and saved itself for the sand. Searching for a heartbeat, her body turns shades of blue to purple and her eyes stare at me as if she is telling me to work harder. I can feel her stare and the eyes of others who begin to form a circle around us. The EMT’s finally arrive and begin their magic. I am shaking on the outside and praying on the inside. Her daughter races to the shore and is in complete shock and screaming as if she is in a nightmare. Her family and friends had arrived that day to celebrate her 40th Birthday. I am a Mother reviving a Mother for a Mother who is desperately hoping this nightmare will end. The EMTs stare in my eyes and shake their head while continuing the resuscitator making sure they have exhausted all possibilities. The adrenaline is racing through my body and tears are flowing down my face as they carry the woman to the ambulance. I can hear the ocean and waves, children laughing and look up to remember the snorkel. How has twenty minutes of time made such a profound impact on my life? I have wasted twenty minutes many times in one day and not thought a second about the time passing. I am numb with tragedy, and my body is thoroughly exhausted as if I had just finished a marathon. People are talking and moving about the beach, and everything is in slow motion. I hear voices but, it is all mumbled and I cannot make out the sounds. I find myself laying on the sand staring at the sky. Tears are flowing down my face and as I look up a lady is staring down at me and says, “You tried”. My life became extremely narrow very quickly to the sole necessities of love, my boys, family, friends, peace and fostering simplicity. Spiritually I believe life events happen for a reason to teach us something we need to learn or to prepare us for someone coming into our life.
Sadly the woman did not survive. Thankfully she was surrounded by friends and family when she passed away at the hospital. Negating one of her biggest fears, to die alone. A courageous woman who has taught me to live in and enjoy each moment. I miss the Hawaii sun, warm ocean and white sand… peace. Mahalo Hawaii.