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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

When tragedy strikes

     Accidents happen.  The one thing that parents dread the most is when their child is injured, and their life is in danger.  When this happens to young parents, it can be especially weighty, because they are just beginning to live out their new role as protectors of these innocent little ones. Yet again, accidents happen.
     Our first born loved the water.  You could not keep him away from it.  It fascinated him, and even at a young age he had no fear of it.  He was about 14 months old when this incident occurred.
     The sky was blue, and a warm breeze caressed the palm trees.  It looked to be the beginning of a perfect sunny Southern California morning.  My wife and her mother were getting ready for their days activities.  Our toddler son was being his normal very precocious little self going about his morning routine.  Speaking jibber-jabber, intermingled with English, he walked and played about the house and yard. 
     My wife called out to him, and heard him reply in his reassuring yet unintelligible chatter.  She was quickly putting on a last bit of clothing.  Hearing an irregular sound, her mind momentarily switched gears and life went into slow motion.  My mother in law was yelling out my son's name. The staccato sound of pounding feet running across the wooden deck outside the window of the room in which my wife was dressing, woke her from her briefly mesmerized state.  She could see her mom hovering over the jacuzzi frantically grasping to pull our sons' limp form from the water.
     Faster than the mightiest sprinter, she ran out there to help.  Her mom was shaking the wet lifeless child, calling his name with the primal hope that it would help bring him back to life. The color had already begun to drain from his face.  My wife went straight into decisive action mode.  Directing her mom to go into the house and call 911, while she brought our child in to be closer to the phone.  In those brief seconds it took to span that distance she pleaded with God, " Please spare him, you cannot take him away from me now".  Her learned skills from High School CPR courses took over, empowered by her strong maternal instinct.
      A fireman named Dennis instantly answered the 911 call.  He was able to acutely assess the grave situation by listening to my mother in laws abbreviated commentary. Seconds seemed like minutes, minutes seemed like hours to the four people involved in this life or death struggle.  Dennis was relying on my wife to fully implement his instructions over the phone as repeated by by mother in law.  The whole episode was about ten minutes in total.
     Then he breathed.  At first a small gasp, then a weak cry, and all at once his skin regained it's full color.  I will never forget the deep heartfelt exclamation of my mother in law, as she gasped in relief, "His colors back!".  Though, I wasn't there at the time, I like many others heard the tapes as they played them on the CBS Evening News.  All as a way of promoting the good of the 911 system, which was new in the late 1980's.
     The paramedics arrived on the scene within minutes of the call.  They were able to monitor our son and check him out before loading him into an ambulance that would take him off to the hospital for further evaluation.  They were not sure if there was going to be any damage due to the lack of oxygen over an unspecified amount of time.  The doctors found him healthy enough to release him just alittle later that day.  You see accidents do happen, and this one just happened to have a great ending.
     But, now I need to share with you the rest of the story.  The part that they never told on television because my wife always kept it treasured in her heart.  You see, the first professional to arrive on the scene came without sirens blaring, but simply walked in the door the moment our child started to breathe again.  He was a tall distinguished looking policeman.
     In the midst of chaos,joy, and relief; the mind doesn't seem to question what is happening in the moment.  We simply just seem to react to it.  The policeman came onto the scene walking in the front door.  He simply proceeded to pick our son up in his arms and nuzzle him.  Whispering to him, and gently rubbing his head with the soft part of his cheek.  As he handed him back to my wife, he reassured her that the boy was going to be alright.  He turned and left, stealthily , as the paramedics came through the same door.
     My wife through the years has now come to believe that this officer was an angel.  Sent to reassure her that everything with her baby was going to be alright, that she had done  good job.  The Apostle Paul says that there are times when we may "entertain angels unaware".  He came with no noticed patrol car, the paramedics never acknowledged him, and he simply left the scene the moment before  they arrived.  How would you explain such oddities?  She knows what she believes.  God not only gave her back her son, He also sent someone to reassure her and her baby of His hand in the midst of tragedy.

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