Monday, June 22, 2009


Sometimes you are a witness to something and are forever changed. There are images that are stuck in your head forever. Some are happy images, others are not.

Last year was a happy image of a mother reunited with her son who had been missing on the beach for a period of time one day.

This year falls in the category of not.

We are curently in Destin, Florida on vacation, in case you didn't know. Our morning started off just as normal as it could be. I went for a mile walk, had some quiet time on the beach, morning coffee and Cookie Crisp for breakfast. After our normal thirty-minute ordeal of slathering SPF 2000 sunscreen on my poor fair skinned daughter and husband (and my not so fair skinned son and self), we headed toward the sea green umbrellas, beach chairs, white sand and waves.

Sarah was having a great time in the surf with her boogie board. The water was rough and the waves bigger than yesterday, which made for some good boarding. But it also made me a little nervous as a mom. So rather than hanging out in the sun and watching from the beach, I was right out there with her the whole time. And we were having fun.

Then I noticed a woman about my age asking some people if they were strong swimmers. Someone was in trouble. Some men headed out to help. After he realized that something was going on, my man was one of them.

He was floating.

His tube was drifting away.

He was face down.

My first thought was to get my children out of the water. They were so excellent. They sat right down on our beach chairs and stayed there so well.

They pulled him from the water.

They were calling 911.

The rescue crew arrived.

I sat with my children trying to distract their attention away from the commotion, but it was difficult. And I noticed the young woman again.

She was worried.

She needed to call her husband.

He was her husband’s dad.

I hadn’t taken my cell phone with me down to the beach for fear of it getting lost or taken into the water. She needed to get back to her children, so I gathered up my children to run to the room to get my phone for her. As we ran back down I left them sitting on the steps to the condo to keep them out of the middle of it. It was a bad situation.

I had seen him floating.

I had seen his face.

I had seen them performing CPR.

I had seen no response.

She already had found a phone to use but didn’t know whose it was. I took it and told her not to worry about it; I would find its owner. She asked me if they had revived him. Not knowing what to say, I said I didn’t know. I told her that they had just taken him up the beach access to an ambulance.

She said he all of the sudden was having trouble breathing. He passed out.

And then her husband arrived.

I didn’t see her again.

Mike was holding his head in his hands to turn it to the side as CPR was performed.

Another man I talked to helped bring him in.

We all assume he had a heart attack or something.

At this point I don’t know for sure the final outcome, but it’s likely that everyone that was on our stretch of the beach today witnessed a man die.

It was a while before anyone got back in the water.

I know that those images are forever in my mind.

And I’m probably not the only one.

5 Way More Homemade comments:

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

Donna, I don't even know what to say. Such a hard thing to process. I pray for that family and I pray that God eases your family's minds. And I pray that you go ahead and enjoy your vacation because God has given you a special gift of this time together.

Sallye said...

Donna, Like Lisa I don't even know what to say. I wish I was there to hold you after you hold your babies. Death is hard and even harder to witness. Sadly this day will be with you forever. I am praying for you, your family, and the family of this man. I pray that God will overshadow this day with a return of joy and laughter for the rest of your vacation. That as you and your family process this day, that God will use it to grow you closer to you. I pray for lots of sun and fun for the rest of your vacation. Love you.


Susieqtpie said...

oh my! My prayers go out to that family! I pray for peace for all involved- including your family.

Holly said...

Oh Dear. Donna, I am praying for you, for those who saw him and for that family... So very sorry.

beyond this moment said...

I'm very sorry. You're right, some images get etched into our heads forever. It's really sad when death has to be one of them.

I'll be praying for your family and for the man's... how sad.