THE ANXIETY OF WAITING!
I got a text message at 10:30 last night just as I was heading to bed. The text was from my white water kayaking, mountain climbing, extreme mountain biking, rock climbing, adult son. All it said was ….”not sure if you’ve heard anything on the news but I’m safe and done with CA kayaking trip. Heading home tomorrow. Will tell the story when we hit I-5.”
This kid has been Mr. Adventure since he learned how to walk so I’ve had some experience with the anxiety caused by waiting for more news. I also know that he’s smart, well prepared, doesn’t take stupid chances and the group he was kayaking with were in his words, “a strong group” meaning strong, experienced kayakers. These guys are not novices. They’ve been doing this for years and they do their research and preparation well.
Well, you can pretty much bet that sleep was now going to be elusive for a while. No, I hadn’t heard anything in the news because I’d been busy and hadn’t watched any news. I grabbed my phone and started googling. I googled every possible combination of search criteria that I could think of involving kayaks, the area the guys had been kayaking in CA, water accidents, etc. I searched Facebook pages of each of the guys he was with searching for clues. No posts or news from any of them since the day of their departure on this particular trip. Nothing further on my son’s page. Nothing on Twitter or Instagram. It was now after 11:00 p.m. and I knew I needed some sleep. A couple of Ibuprofen helped me relax enough to fall asleep leaving my phone on and the volume turned up. I didn’t want to miss a text or call from him regardless the time.
Although it was hard waiting for further news it was doable knowing he was safe. That was huge. That tells me that whatever danger they may have been in, he was now at least safe and would be headed home soon.
The importance of letting your loved ones know that you are safe absolutely cannot be stressed enough. Fear of the unknown is so much harder to handle than waiting for further details after receiving that initial message saying, “I’m safe, more later.”
Many of the locations my son and his friends frequent are well outside the boundaries of any cell range. Satellite phones are one possibility as are personal locator beacons. If you or a loved one venture into remote areas outside of cell phone range it may be a good idea to read up on the locator systems available and determine which best fits your needs. One such device was used to summon Search and Rescue personnel during this particular trip. Precious minutes are saved since these devices immediately hook into SAR instead of going through a local dispatch center and then being routed to SAR.