Saturday, June 10, 2006

For the Love of Kyle...Please Play. But Do It SAFELY.

This has been an emotional and heartbreaking week. Lisa, Tim and their daughter, Casey (8) feel blessed by your prayers but the grieving is only just begun. The funeral was lovely and the priest was very personal. My heart broke as I watched that sweet family walk behind the too small casket. The loss and pain on their faces, I shall never forget. When Kyle's boyscout troop leaders and their boys marched in, tears just flooded my cheeks.

He was such a happy kid. So smiley. He loved to play.

The Glen Alpine Community has been very supportive. People rallied to the Sullivans' side, with love, food, and gifts. They have begun a swimming lessons scholarship fund for those who cannot afford to get lessons.
As Summer gets started and we are all going out to play, I'd like to share a few things:
When I was less than two years old, I went missing. I don't know how long I had been gone. It could have only been one minute. It could have been a lot longer. But when they realized that I was not where I should be, they did a search.

It was my sister, Kim, who found me in the pool. I was floating face down and not moving.

Thank God that my parents had already started teaching me how to swim. I was holding my breath. No damage was done.

Many people cannot boast of such a miracle. Death by drowning is one of the leading killers of children.

I wasn't at the birthday swim party where my friend's son drowned on June 3rd. He wasn't a toddler. He was 11 years old. The pool was filled with people. Kids as well as adults. It was an above ground pool...eight feet deep and had a shallow end. Yet, the water was murky from chemicals and rafts hid the horror underneath.

Rafts are not life savers. Those little yellow blow up things that you stick on arms of children are not life savers. Life vests. The kind that hold your head above water. That and swimming lessons save lives.

It was the last week of my deployment in Hungary for the Bosnia Crisis. The unit was celebrating.

We went to a beautiful restaurant/resort on Lake Balaton. The unit provided boating but we were told not to swim.

Many of us had too much to drink.

It was hot.

I was sitting at the end of a long, long dock, awaiting my turn in the motor boat when Captain D- and Specialist P- decided to strip down and dive in.

CPT D- went first. He performed a shallow swimmer's dive and immediately stood up with his nose scrapped from the bottom of the lake.


It was shallow.

We were all shocked. I mean, we were on a really long dock and it looked so deep. But when CPT D- stood up, the water lapped just under the top of his boxers.

This happened so fast that no one was able to stop SPC P- from going in.

I remember yelling, "DON'T DIVE!!!"

But he was too drunk and running too fast to stop himself. He dove. Not a shallow dive but a deep dive.

He didn't come up on his own.

CPT. D- pulled him up and held his head out of the water but SPC P- was screaming that he couldn't move. He had broken his neck. He is now a quadriplegic. He was only 20 years old.

Please, as you go out to play and swim, remember:

Test the water's depth before diving.

Don't swim if you have been drinking alcohol.

Don't swim if you are tired.

Don't swim if you are sick.

Don't swim alone. Use the buddy system!

Don't swim as far as you can go. You won't be coming back.

Watch your children.

And please parents, get your kids into swimming lessons. It will save their lives.

Please keep praying for the Sullivan family. They are so very sad. As is the whole community. Kyle's loss will be felt forever.


Fred said...

Because of all the pools down here, we see many of these stories. it sometimes is as simple as a parent taking a nap. Then, the child finds a pool.

It breaks my heart every time I read about something like this.

Your tips could save a life.

Jen said...

Great post, it's information not everyone thinks of.

I will keep this family in my prayers, how very tragic.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I live in an area of a lot of natural lakes and ponds...No matter how many times these warnings are stressed, there's always an accident.

I will keep this family in prayer!

The Curmudgeon's Rant said...

Amen. You said it right.

Swimming lessons are critical.

So is constant supervision.

BTW – Darla and I went straight to prayer for your friends. May the Lord give them peace. I just can’t imagine how they must feel.

Trinity13 said...

What wonderful advice...thanks for sharing!

Btw, we are in the process of teaching my four year old how to swim.

Kimber said...

Every time I think of this family it brings tears to my eyes - keeping them and you in prayer.

Thanks for the advice on being safe around water. All of my children get swimming lessons at their school and I am so grateful for that!

Again - so so sorry for this is so heart breaking! Prayers and love!

Wren said...

Thank you for this, Mimi. It's sobering, but it's crucial.

Ciera said...

I wish I had been taight to swim. I've tried to learn as an adult, but am so terrified of water that I can't float on my back. Thanks for posting this Mimi.

audrey` said...

Thank you so much for sharing, Marianne.
It has been a long and sad week.
Please take care.

Ballpoint Wren said...

We had a pool when we lived in Texas. During our housewarming party one of our friends suddenly asked us, "Is Katey supposed to be in the pool?"

She was another friend's toddler and NO, she WASN'T. We (and her parents) were inside and somehow she'd gotten past us to get outside.

Hubby broke all speed records getting out of the house and diving into the pool to rescue her. She was okay! Swallowed lots of water, but alive, thank God!

Whenever I hear about a child drowning in a family pool, I shudder. It could have been our story, too, even though we thought we were all watching her.

Anonymous said...

that brought tears in my eyes. i feel their pain. praying for kyle's family...

Dennie McDonald said...

again - continued prayers!

(the part about the Boy Scouts - hits far too close to home!)

God will pull them through this!

audrey` said...

How are you, Marianne?
Jesus loves you :)

Nick Zegarac said...

Dear M.C.:

There are no words to quell the pang derived from the loss of a child. The strong go on in their pretending that life has moved on. The weak lose their souls to an eternal nightmare - waking half asleep and giving at least half their slumber to the turmoil of active thoughts. Prayers and blessings. Be strong.


Jean-Luc Picard said...

A wonderful post Mimi. It is so important to swim.

Jaime H. said...

I am so sorry to hear of this tragedy! Oh, so sad!!

Radical One said...

hey girl. haven't visited in awhile. so sorry to hear about the loss of the Sullivan family. i am right now praying for peace that only God can give during this time.

in march and april we had 3 deaths in our family, and that's why i've not been around as much, as well. my girls lost both grandfathers and a great grandmother all within 5 weeks. but God has been so faithful and we are just thankful for the time we had with them.

i always enjoy coming to your place here, but i'm really sad to hear of this loss. hope and pray everyone is doing alright.


K. Jimmy said...

oh mimi,
how this whole thing must have dredged up so many painful memories for you, and now you need God's grace all the more to be there for your own kids through this. i will keep praying for the sullivans, but know that i'll be praying for you, too.
God bless,

M. C. Pearson said...

Thanks everyone. I hope that this has helped. My kids will be having swimming lessons via the Kyle Sullivan fund starting at the end of this month. God bless you all.

nettie said...

I've seen it happen but I don't think I'll ever undesrtand..vzk