Instinct for survival

three line tales micro fiction and micro poetry writing challenge

Photo Credit Sonya

She had told herself that this would be her last day; that her life would end with the setting of the sun.

She felt the water carrying her towards a violent place which would overcome her ability to survive. It was what she had planned.

Her terrified heart beat painfully, and her lungs screamed for survival. She turned back, towards the shore. Maybe she’d find the courage tomorrow.

Posted for Sonya’s 3 Line Tales

©Jane Paterson Basil

27 thoughts on “Instinct for survival

    1. Thank you. Where there’s life, there’s hope. Suicide is often the result of a moment that seems too hard to survive, but if we can just move beyond that moment there is the chance of better things.
      I picture her taking that swim several times, and then actively choosing life.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry. I accept suicide as a practical final step in certain medical cases, but it’s terrible to be so unhappy that you feel it’s the only way out.
      All three of the posts I wrote today were connected to the same person. Originally he had planned to take his catamaran far out to sea, and quietly slip into the water. He was terminally ill with a wasting disease. He changed his mind and went to Dignitas. He appeared in both of the dreams I remember from last night.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You obviously have a strong connection with him. Hope he is able to live what life he has left in peace and dignity. I don’t know what Dignitas is but I’m assuming it’s some sort of palliative care place/program.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Dignitas is the assisted suicide clinic in Zurich. He died there about a year ago. I respect his decision, and strangely, I think I was less sad than I would have been if he had died naturally, because he chose his own time. He wasn’t depressed, but he had reached the stage when he was no longer able to do much without help, and in pain every time he moved.
          I don’t know how he managed to take the lethal medication – it was hard for him to hold a cup, and it’s illegal for the staff to help a client drink it.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. It’s a tough one, because so many people are opposed to it for religious reasons, but it gives the individual the choice to go out with dignity. Once relatives come round to the idea, it usually makes it easier for them, too.
              My aunt died horribly. She had made a living will, requesting that she should be helped to die if she ever reached a point where her life had no value. We couldn’t go along with it, because it would have been murder – and who has the right to decide when the life of another should be extinguished?
              I wish she had had the opportunity to go to Dignitas, although when she became ill it was from a virus, and all the time she was going downhill, the doctors said she would recover, so by the time she reached the stage of wanting to die she was too ill to travel anyway.

              Liked by 1 person

  1. Jane, this is really so powerful – you take us along on the water with you, share her feelings with us. Tremendous stuff.
    I think you’re right about suicide. I think of some of those poor people who reached a point of no return and spend their last moments terrified, wanting to come back. Awful, awful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a terrible thing, to be unable to see any other way out, but to choose drowning, and then to be fighting to live at the last moment, when it”s too late; horrible. The one consolation is that the last moments of drowning are euphoric. Don’t ask me how I know that – I always have.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hope you’re right. I hope the end of all lives are. I saw my dad die and as he deteriorated over thosee last few days, I knew his mind hadn’t been with us for some while. I have no idea where he was in those last hours, but despite us not getting on, I do hope he was somewhere wonderful. It’s all we can hope for anyone’s last moments, I suppose – a lack of fear and a sense of peace.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I think that was we get older we become less afraid of death. My only fear is that my children will grieve the way I grieved for my mum, when I’d prefer tham to chuck me over a hedge and move on.
          I sometimes think that the loss of a loved one who you didn’t get on with is the worst loss of all – it’s too late to make everything the way you would like it to be.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I think you’re right.When my dad died something clicked in my head so that I’m more accepting of the inevitability of it – I know that sounds odd, as from an early age we all work out everything dies, but part of me suddenly knew it in a way I hadn’t before. As I age, too, I see myself as just part of the network of life on the planet, a tiny part of what goes on here. What will it matter when I die? My main aim at the moment is to live long enough to see my son grown and independent, to not leave him a boy without a mum. Anything else will be a bonus 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I hope you live to a great age, and enjoy many bonuses.
              You’d think that the human race would have become accustomed to death, after all, we’ve been doing it for some years now – and yet my response when I heard that Harper Lee had died was “Oh no. That’s awful!” She was in her late eighties for goodness sake, and had written one of the greatest novels of our time! Surely that should be enough for anybody.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Acclimatising ourselves to losing others is tough – getting used to dying ourselves is a different mountain to climb. How can the world continue when we’ve gone – we only know the world through these eyes, these ears, these hands. How is it possible to experience it any other way?
                Yes, you’re right- Harper Lee accomplished a lot. And she was ‘a good age’ as they say – anything below 80 sounds too young these days, doesn’t it?

                Liked by 1 person

  2. You know why I love this? “The water is coming back in, just beginning to lick my toes. I’ll stay here. I want to know how long it will take for me to get too scared to stay rooted to this spot. If I’ll get too scared. … ” That’s the beginning of a story I wrote in November. It’s set on that beach.
    She does turn around in the end. Great minds, eh?

    Thank you for joining TLT this week 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s amazing! If I had read it, it may have stuck in my subconscious, and that would have explained it, but I didn’t.
      My son hads told me I should lay off the suicide stuff, so I’ll try to make this week’s challenge more cheerful…


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