In 1984, my husband and I and our two kids, Charlie (age 2) and Erin (2 months), were living in Nashville, Tennessee. It was a warm weekend in June when I packed up my kids to head for Memphis to visit my friend Linda, and her family. The four hour drive went smoothly. Once in Memphis, we goofed around, reminisced, watched videos, and played with the kids. Linda and Mike lived in a large house with a screened-in porch that was used as a playroom for their kids and they also had a nice pool out back
Saturday afternoon, Charlie was in the playroom, Erin was sound asleep in her carry cradle, and I was helping Linda make dinner. She went upstairs for a moment, and I began making the salad.
I’ll never forget the next turn of events for as long as I live. I can still remember them as if they were yesterday. I was chopping lettuce, when I heard a command in my head; “Go get your son!” It was so powerful that I immediately dropped my chopping knife and went flying down the hallway to the playroom. Charlie was not there. I quickly ran into the adjacent bathroom; he wasn’t there either. Frantically, I raced to the screen door and ran out into the back yard. There was Charlie, face down, floating in their pool. He was ashen, gray, and limp. Lifeless. I jumped into the pool (the water was way over my head) and I swam out to him.
After I lifted him over the edge of the pool and placed him on the concrete, I climbed out, held him in my arms and began screaming and crying, “Oh God, oh God! My baby’s dead! Oh God! My baby’s dead!” Then, I heard in my head, “Breathe into him!” Panic-stricken, I gave him one breath, but I became aware that I was no longer alone. By my side was a neighbor lady who had heard my screams, and she asked, “Do you know CPR?” “No!” I yelled. As she began breathing into him, Linda came running outside. She too had heard my screaming, and had called “911”. Within a few seconds of the neighbor lady’s arrival, Charlie’s eyes popped open. In my frantic state, I thought the lady’s breath had blown his eyes open. I thought Charlie was still dead. But, he threw up, and began crying and coughing and sputtering. He was alive!
The ambulance arrived shortly after, and the paramedics began transporting Charlie and me to the Children’s Hospital. When we arrived at the Emergency Room, a physician right away assessed Charlie’s lungs and began oxygen and ordered chest x-rays.
“How did it happen?” the doctor asked.
I stammered, “I don’t know- he must have wandered outside, and maybe he tripped over the hose and fell into the pool. I didn’t see it happen, so I really can’t say.”
“Did anyone else see him fall in?”
“No, he was out there by himself.”
“Then how did you happen to go out there and get him?”
“I swear, God told me, ‘Go get your son!’ and I ran outside, and found him in the pool.”
“How long do you think he was on the bottom of the pool before you found him?”
“Oh, he wasn’t on the bottom, he was floating when I found him.”
“Wow!” she said. “You got to him right away- well, at least within a couple of minutes, because after that, they lose air, and they sink. You got to him before he lost all air.”
Charlie spent the night in intensive care, and was put on antibiotics. By Sunday afternoon, his respirations were back to normal, and his lungs were clear. He was discharged, and we took him back to Linda’s. It was so hard for me to get the incident out of my mind. I kept seeing Charlie’s little body floating in the pool; grayish, blue, limp. Linda was so dear though. She gave me a hug, and gently took me over to the window. “Look, Patty, look out there- he’s not in the pool- he’s here- safe.”
Over and over again, for the next several months, I thanked God every night for saving Charlie. I was awed by how He could talk to me without me seeing Him. Mind you, I was not a believer when this happened. It says in the Bible that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He doesn’t wait for us to become believers first. He can speak to anybody, anyplace, anywhere, anyway He chooses. When I think of this story, I am reminded of how God lead the Three Wise Men (who weren’t believers) to His Son, just as He lead me to mine. I love you, Lord. Thanks for saving my son, and for saving all of us.
What an amazing story, Patty! I held back tears as I read it. God’s care is so dear. Beautifully written.