I remember being the tender age of 13 and riding my bike to the Spring Lake Park beach. I wasn’t that good with the breast stroke, but boy could I swim on my back.
I remember this particular day in 1971 vividly. It was one of those perfect warm summer days. I met up with my buddies at the beach, and while they were getting ready to jump into the water, I decided to get right in. On my back I went and swam out to the middle of the lake with my strong back stroke, and then I swam back..
I touched the dock and dropped my legs down. What I didn’t know was that I had gotten turned around; I hadn’t swam in to shore but out further into the lake. What I touched was weeds, and my legs became entwined in them. I fought to break loose, but I couldn’t. I panicked and was so afraid.
I raised my hand in the universal sign for “I’m downing.” The lifeguard looked at me and I remember him smiling and laughing at me. He most likely figured I was just goofing around, because I easily swam out to my location.
I put up my index finger and then my middle finger and almost got my third finger up when the most amazing sensation took over. I felt the most serene sense of peace and pure joy. All was good and I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful place to be. I wanted to stay there and thought I could. There was no fear or struggle.
I let go and knew I was in the embrace of an angel. She was smiling at me. She was so kind, full of love for me. I died that day and went to the Other Side.
I remember the angel being next to me in the sand — and time stood still.
The next minute I felt like I slammed into my body and it hurt so bad. My lungs were on fire and I struggled to open my eyes. When I did, so many faces were staring down at me. I heard my friends crying and people shouting.
I was very confused and choking. It was awful. It scared the hell out of me. My first thought was that my parents were going to kill me, because I wasn’t supposed to be at the lake. I was scheduled to be working at the Tom Thumb convenience store that my parents owned. I got to my feet, and everyone was still screaming around me. I could hear the ambulance. I ran as quickly as I could, jumped onto my bike and took off to work.
I still felt that burn in my lungs and coughed up what I could. I was so dizzy I could barely see. I looked up towards the sky and there she was, my angel — and she hasn’t left me since that day.
My friends came to the store and I made them pinky swear they would never tell anyone what happened to me that day on the beach. They never did. This is the first time I have told this story.
I know I am always protected, the Spirit world is real and so are angels. You are never ever alone.