The Plunge

3 05 2016

black water

You knew it was coming to this. You tried your best to prepare for it. But nothing can really prepare you for the experience when it finally comes. You didn’t want this. You tried your best, but you didn’t know how to fix what had gone terribly wrong. No matter what you did, it wasn’t enough. So now, here you are looking down into those cold black waters. Right up until this point you kept hoping for a reprieve, for someone to call, “Oh no, dear heart, that’s just too awful! Come back to the fire.” But deep down you knew that wasn’t going to happen. You have no choice. You must do this. You must dive into these frigid black waters and swim to the other side.

At one time you would not have believed you could do this. You lay on the bathroom floor, curled up and sobbing because you couldn’t handle what was happening to you. But you do not know how strong you are until strong is all that is left for you to be. So you picked yourself up off of the floor, blew your nose and splashed water on your face, and went out to face it. You studied for it, learning how to swim, reminding yourself that there is hope and a future on the other side if you can just get there. You’ve got to do this. You have no choice. Perhaps you never did, and this icy swim has always been waiting for you.

But as you look down into the roiling blackness, your confidence and courage fall away. Tears stream down your face. Every muscle resists. Sobbing and shaking, you force yourself forward to plunge into the water. The shock of the cold is unbearable. But you must bear it. You force your arms to stroke, your legs to kick. One the other side you can hear faint voices, the friends who are waiting for you, calling out encouragement. So many people offered to help, at the same time knowing that you had to do this alone. They tried to advise you, but no advice could give you what you need to cross these black, turbulent, frigid depths.

The cold numbs your limbs and your mind. You begin to hear other voices, mocking whispers, telling you to give up, sink, die. Reminding you of all you’ve lost, blaming you, shaming you, tying weights of guilt to your legs. Half-seen terrors brush by in the water beneath you. Logic is gone. Confidence is gone. All there that remains is swimming, moving forward, pushing yourself through the water. Resisting exhaustion, resisting despair, swimming to the other side.




4 responses

3 05 2016

keep swimming stay in touch

3 05 2016
Mary Jolles

Count your strokes! Listen to your friends! The water is actually lovely! Embrace the cold! Think of all the great things you’ve done for others and what your life has meant to them. Think of your kids! They’re wonderful, and that’s because of you! Think of our hikes and summits! Some were bitches and some were sons of bitches, but we did them all. You are going to make it!

4 05 2016

This water is not lovely; it is dark, and cold, and malignant. But I have to get through it to reach the opposite shore. I will get there, and I look forward to the warm welcome of my dear friends when I get there. Keep calling encouragement and I will keep swimming.

4 05 2016
Guntis Goncarovs

Keep on moving, Mel.

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