The Big Wave

In this photo, you can see Jan (in the middle), Jan’s father Volker (right), stepmother Sabine (second on the right), and sister Thea (on the left). I, Jan’s girlfriend, am taking this photo on the third vacation day in Cape Verde, Sao Vicente island. This photo was taken on the same day that all of our lives changed forever, veering in a direction which we would never choose on our own.

That day in the evening we decided to go swimming in the ocean close to our hotel. The second wave hit us hard and my head touched the bottom of the sea floor. I knew we were in danger and hoped to warn the others, but I could not see Jan at first.

He was floating nearby with his face down and was not moving. I thought that it was simply a very bad joke from Jan and so I screamed at him to stop. My brain didn’t accept that something very bad could be happening. Thea rushed over to Jan and turned him over onto his back. I saw his face and scared eyes. Jan was alive, and we rushed to take him out of the water.

An ambulance came to take Jan to the hospital and that is how we started our journey.

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