Facing One’s Fears


     Two years ago, my husband and I were vacationing with friends in Mexico when he came damn close to drowning.  It was an experience that literally rocked us to the very core and has haunted him ever since.  Upon returning to the scene of the crime during our Cabo trip last week, he felt compelled to write about the ordeal and how he finally conquered his fears:

Today I returned to the place. THE place where I was moments from meeting my maker. It was far from pleasant in one of the world’s most picturesque locations.

I was stupid, wrecklessly so. I was body surfing where no one should. It’s called Divorce Beach. And, numerous people said “don’t swim there.” All seemed like lore and not applicable to ME. I mean WTF? I can swim, right? Besides, I was bored. I’m not much for laying in the sun; so, I thought i’d just play around in the waves a bit.


I owe my life to two friends (via my wife – Kent & Guy, I owe you forever) and a few locals from Cabo San Lucas. After +5 min of struggling in a killer undertow, people realized I was in trouble.

I can confirm when you think you are going to die, your life flashes before your eyes. But it wasn’t just that – future moments flashed before me. Watching my son’s first touchdown, seeing my daughter getting married, my 50 year anniversary to my lovely and loving wife. It sucked. Worst moment of my life until… 4 guys grasping hands in a human chain trying to reach me were obliterated by an 8 ft wave.

I now believed I would be responsible for not only ending my own life but that of others as well. No contest – worst 30 seconds of my existence. I count my lucky stars that each one of those heroic men popped back up – mainly because I didn’t want to be the cause of their demise but also because they eventually pulled me from the torture I endured.

Today I returned to that beautiful spot. I had a little apprehension, but I do believe I’m smarter for the experience. I wanted to replace that memory with a far better one.

While I don’t think you can ever replace a near death experience, I gave it my damnest today. I barked with sea lions, I marvelled at larger than life whales, I was surrounded by schools of colorful fish, and I floated on those same currents that anonymously and without malice wanted my last breath two years ago.

It was pure joy. I’m alive. I love my kids, my wife and my life. And now when I look upon that iconic symbol of vacationing in Mexico, I can reflect on lessons learned AND good times had.


6 Responses

  1. Wow. Well, I am very glad that all turned out well for you. It must have been a terrifying experience. I am certifyed for underwater investigation and I know that drowning is not a nice way to die. Thank God above that you didn’t. Your wife is a very sweet, and funny lady, you are lucky to have her. Take very good care of yourself, and God Bless You.

  2. Wow-that was some experience. One that I would never want to experience as I am sure you could have done without. But wait…if you hadn’t experienced this…would you look upon life with the same love? Sometimes we get to experience certain things so we can appreciate our live, what we have & who we have. I can say that by the sounds of it—you really learned the true lesson of this experience. I am glad you are here to tell us about it.

  3. Not as dramatic, but I had a similar experience once, in a mosh pit.

    We were at a show where the headliners were a favorite of our group. They are relatively calm for a rock band. But the opening act? They were high on something. And most of the crowd that swarmed around the front of the stage were high as well, and there to see them.

    A pit took shape right in front of me. As more people pushed in to be a part, I got pushed, poked, slammed and sucked in. Elbows flying. Legs got weak. I almost fell several times. I couldn’t see to find my way out.

    And then a friend reached in and pulled me hard, out of the pit.

    My life didn’t flash before my eyes. But I was scared. And I am forever grateful for the strong arm of a friend.

    Thanks for sharing your story. I can relate in a tiny way . . .

  4. whoa.

    further confirmation that i am smart in hating the ocean.

    glad your hubbs is here to write the account.

    also, hope your son likes football.

  5. I firmly believe that Fate takes us down a certain road with certain experiences for a reason. You walked away from that experience (thank Goodness!) with a newfound appreciation for your life and those that share it with you. You would not be the person that you are today without having gone through that. The life that you life now is richer and more vibrant and you are far more thankful than you ever would have been otherwise. Don’t look at what happened as a nightmare but as an important lesson. I look forward to reading about your fiftieth anniversary 🙂

  6. Thank you all for your comments.

    Terri, yes, I’m the luckiest man alive to have Mrs. Nucking Futs 🙂

    kicksbutt, lesson definitely learned.

    tys, buy that friend a beer. I bought my friend a case of Sol cerveza.

    Joy, “whoa” is right! 🙂 but don’t fear the ocean. it is a wonderful and wonderous thing. it commands respect, but if you give it respect (and follow the “rules”), it is a whole lot of fun.

    Kat, we’re all like a mound of clay being shaped by our experiences, for good and bad. This one was good and bad. Now that I’m well removed from the event, life is more vibrant and I am more thankful. I look forward to NFM’s 50th anniversary blog post 🙂

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