So You're Afraid Of Dying
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In July 1963, I was at one of my usual stomping grounds, the 'ponds' that were the result of gravel excavation for freeway construction. There were two adjoining ponds, but we always swam in the smaller of the two, a pond of about 5 acres in size and as much as 150 feet deep. It was excavated from one end to the other, with the other two sides of the pond almost strait down.
I was there one day with my little brother and a friend. We used to play a game of grabbing a large boulder and seeing who could go down the farthest. On this particular day I had a boulder I could hardly hold as I leaped out into the pond.
I wanted to go down as far as possible, so I held the boulder for quite a while as I submerged. I noticed the water had gone from a comfortable warm to cold and dark, I finally looked up as I let go of the boulder and was horrified to see only a flashlight sized light at the surface of the water. I immediately knew I was in big trouble being so far down and already needing to breathe.
I kicked my legs as hard as I could trying to get back to the surface, but when I was probably still 15 or 20 feet from the surface, I could hold my breathe no longer as my lungs were burning. Try as I might, I could not help but finally inhale a large quantity of water into my lungs. As I did so I realized in my mind I was going to die, but there was nothing I could do about it but accept it as my destiny. I remember being very afraid of death, I didn't want to die and I was feeling sorry for myself and how stupid I had been by going down so far, but it seemed there was nothing I could do but accept it. My kicking legs slowly quit moving and I went limp as everything went dark.