Wednesday, August 1, 2012


We are on a family vacation and we spent some time at Grandma and Grandpa's cabin.  It is a wonderful place filled with lots of places to explore, sticks to find, dirt to dig in etc.  But the most beloved place at the cabin is far and away the river.  Fishing is a huge activity at the river and nearly all the kids, regardless of age participate.  My 2 year old could have stood on the bank and thrown rocks in FOREVER.  Another favorite activity is tubing down the river.  The river is usually calm and slow moving and not much of a danger.  Above is a picture of my husband and 2 sons before they went tubing this past Monday (2 year old had to show off Dad's fly rod in the photo as well). 

The boys wanted a longer tube ride than normal so they hiked up a ways above where they normally put in.  I decided a few minutes after they left to walk up so I could snap some photos of them.  I was walking with my two little ones and we were having a great time on a little nature walk.  All of a sudden I heard my husband's voice, it had great desperation in it.  All I heard was "Garrett...GRAB THE TUBE!  GRAB THE TUBE!"  With those 7 words dread entered my heart and I started to panic.  You see Garrett didn't have a life jacket on (I know...don't judge) and while he is a great swimmer (thank you swim team), I knew he was no match for a swift river.  I ran to the bank thinking if he was coming downstream that perhaps I could grab him.  But when he didn't come and I didn't hear anything more from my husband I started to panic.  I picked up my 2 year old and ordered my daughter to run.  We got to where the boys were just as I saw my husband and 7 year old getting out of the river.  My son was wet from head to toe.  My 13 year old was emotional. 

I asked what happened and heard this story.  Nathan (my oldest son) went down first on the river.  He went around a bend where he was sucked into a tree.  He was fine and upright, but couldn't move.  Then Garrett went down, that same current that sucked Nathan in, sucked Garrett in too, except it capsized his tube and sucked him under water.  He was pinned underneath Nathan.  Nathan felt totally helpless as he knew his younger brother was under there, but he couldn't do a thing to help him.  Dave said he watched this as if in slow motion.  He got off his tube and ran down there, but couldn't see Garrett under the water.  He then stepped toward Nathan and stepped on something.  That something was Garrett.  Dave pulled him out of the river by his ankle.  He was going down stream.   He was underwater for about 30 seconds. 

I started to cry as I was hearing this.  It could have been a tragedy.  It could have turned out so much worse.  I am so grateful that my son is just fine and it wasn't his time to go.  I am so grateful my husband stepped where he did.  I am so grateful Garrett was able to hold his breath for 30 seconds (thank you swim spite of Garrett kicking and screaming to go everyday, it probably saved his life this week).  That morning my cute 4 year old daughter had said our morning prayer, in that prayer she asked that we would all be protected that day.  I am so grateful that prayer was answered.

I asked Garrett what he was thinking when he was under the water.  He told me he thought he was going to die, but he wasn't scared.  I asked him if he prayed and he said, "Not really, all I kept saying in my head was HELP! HELP!"  I told him that was a prayer and it was answered. 
Thankfully Garrett seems no worse for the wear.  He actually got back on the tube and went down on a very calm part of the river right after this experience.  He hasn't had any bad dreams and wants desperately to go swimming again.  He is one tough kid and I am so grateful for that grit and toughness.  He is one special boy and I told him he has lots of important things to do on this earth and God wants him here to accomplish his mission in life.


Wendi said...

Wow! I'm so thankful that he is okay and that it turned out alright. I saw that picture on Facebook. It fits perfectly in this post. :)

luntaz said...

Oh Cheryl! How unbelievable frightening! So thankful it has a happy ending.

Stephanie said...

What an experience. I am glad everything turned out OK. I am also glad Garrett chose to get back in. Something like that can Traumatize you in your head. and You don't know until later. Well it at least did that to me. It happened with me and horse riding and when I got thrown and had to get xrays and what not. Got back and I wanted to get back on the horse, but no one would let me. And I still can't let a horse get above a trot. I start to freak out. And I can't get back on that horse.
Anyways Love your family and I am sure glad everyone is OK.

Kathleen said...

I was so glad to see a new post from you, but then there were tears! I am so glad this had a happy ending, but I'm sorry you had to live through that. Glad everyone is okay.

Sarah said...

Oh Cheryl! How terrifying! 30 seconds is such a long time.

Kath said...

Sooo glad it all worked out! How scary!!