Story by Dee Ann E.L. Horvath
I was very young, barely five years old when I learned that my whole life could be totally changed in a few agonizing moments. It all started out so innocent on a hot summer afternoon. My mother had worked very hard to create a safe environment for my sister and I on our lake front property in Wisconsin. She weeded and raked the whole beach area around the pier and chained off a safe area for us to swim. Being 5 and 4 years old my sister’s and my lake was a wonderland to our senses. Snails, mussels, fish and turtles were our consideration as we explored their world and the area we were allowed.
We noticed a man fishing close by in a boat and looked forward to fishing with our father when he came home. We would have a nice dinner and then get dressed for fishing on the pier. Dad had so many neat gadgets for night fishing, bobbers that lit up when the fish nibbled and time to be with us. That was the best part. We were very patient because it was so much fun to spend special time with Daddy. So my sister Lori and I played for hours in the sanctuary my mother had created for us looking forward to evening time with father.
The warm winds picked up and being children we never paid attention to our inner tube that had blown over the chain and gone into the forbidden zone; a vastly weeded area with a spring in the middle that was cold as Alaska. My mother, being our savior, made it her quest to get the tube back. She dove in but the heat of the day and the cold spring caught her off guard. Mommy was a good swimmer but her thrashing caused the weeds to wrap around her legs and pull her down. Lori and I watched as we saw our mother drowning pleading for the fisherman to help her. He froze and seemed to watch the drama unfold unable to emend the situation. Lori and I stood on the water’s edge and beheld the worst disaster in our life. Our mother was our effervescence that propelled us to grow and we were watching her die?. Slowly. I always felt stronger than my years and she yelled out don’t Dee Ann and then something special happened.
She remembered something someone had told her a long time ago. When things pull you down take a deep breath and relax. All of a sudden you will be released and set free. She suddenly relaxed and all the weeds let go and she lay floating on the water. Mother made her way back to the sea wall safely although exhausted.
My mother is gone from this earth now but never from my mind. She taught me so many things but most of all she taught me how to float. At times when things overcome me I remember what she told me? Relax, don’t panic, breathe and you will see another beautiful day and you know what, it works. Life’s lessons can be hard and they can hurt but in truth they can also be sweet, rewarding and enlightening like my day at the water’s edge.