Shutting off the motor, Karen sat there in the dark, the small dinghy rocking gently from side to side. She was scared now. It was one thing to think about ending one’s life, but she wasn’t sure she had the courage to do it now that the time had come. She was far enough away from Green Island that she could barely make out the jagged rocks of its treacherous shores in the darkness. The wind was rising, and she knew if the dinghy rocked much more it would probably toss her into the ocean anyway, relieving her of the critical decision she faced.
She had never felt so utterly alone. “Oh Mother if only you were here with me. You were all I had. Why did you have to die? Why couldn’t it have been him,” she cried into the dark star-filled sky. The anchor securely fastened to her right ankle ensured once she took the leap, there would be no way to change her mind. Touching her bruised, battered face she winced, “Never again,” and without another thought leaned over the side of the dinghy, slipping into the deep, cold water of the bay. Clutching her mother’s shawl tightly to her chest, she didn’t struggle against the blackness as the anchor pulled her ever deeper. Down, down she went into the black abyss.
The cold water began to numb her body, and the instinct to take a breath became ever stronger. Karen was an excellent swimmer; able to hold her breath for long periods of time, so she figured it might take a few moments for her to lose consciousness. Closing her eyes tightly, the briny water stinging; she waited for death to take her. Although initially she’d been clenched in the grip of morbid fear, a bizarre calm washed over her as she drifted ever deeper. With lungs burning, the pressure of the water was squeezing her body. She opened her eyes one last time, and knew she must be near death because she could see a blinding light that seemed to be calling her. Then she saw him.
In silvery white clothing that glittered like a million stars, he was very tall, floating on a brilliant runway of light, drawing ever nearer. He was beautiful! Karen hadn’t been raised with any religious convictions, but surely the man before her must be God. She’d read that people who had near-death experiences spoke about a peaceful bright light that beckoned them; now she understood the concept. Reaching out to her, God took her hands and Karen instantly felt his compassion. He was speaking to her without actually saying a word, assuring her she was safe. That was when she lost consciousness, adrift in blissful nothing.
Her head was pounding, her mouth very dry when she tried to open her eyes. She had no concept of time or where she was; her mind was blissfully blank. Attempting to sit up, her limp body was non-responsive. Covered with a silvery gossamer cloth that radiated a soothing heat, Karen was floating, unable to feel her limbs at all. There was a faint beeping sound, and a warming sensation coursed through her veins sending her once again into oblivion.