“He’s dead!” The only words I truly remember hearing on July 22, 2005. This short narrative on what has been coined “Flashback Friday” will show you that miracles are still happening. If I start rambling, please forgive me and understand that even 11 years later – I still get choked up.
We were planning a nice evening for ourselves after walking in the suburb of Grosse Pointe eating ice cream enjoying the afternoon. You see, his mother had come and taken my kid to stay with her for the weekend. I was only a little uncomfortable but felt I could show them I trusted her with The Kid. As we parted ways to get dressed for the evening activities, I received the call no mother wants. I heard him trying to say the words my mind wouldn’t allow me to hear through tears and a muffled tone. His exact words were, “They say he’s dead.” In my disbelief, I responded, ‘who?’ The answer was my son.
I was driving and pulled over to the side of the road and began to sob uncontrollably. No one was there to console me during this horrific hour. In a flash, I called my mother. She asked me to come to her but I couldn’t – I had to get to him. I had to be there with him. I needed to find out where he was. I wiped my eyes and headed toward Belleville, MI to find my one and only son. I had the news but something wouldn’t let me rest. The horror of calling his dad filled me and I didn’t even bother to call until I saw him for myself.
As I broke every traffic violation between Detroit and Belleville, I thought about the funeral arrangements for about 10 minutes. Then I said “No!” A simple prayer was all I could focus on for the rest of the ride ‘Lord please give him back to me, please don’t take him away.’ As I got closer to the exit, I realized I was going the wrong way, I needed to find out where the hospital was that held his body. A gas station at the exit ramp became a figurative fork in the road of this entire story.
I jumped out of my car and began to ask everyone where the hospital was and shared the tragic ordeal and begged people to help me. When I tell you not one person had the answers I needed and shared no additional information. I screamed and cried louder and harder at every person that offered me no assistance in my time of need. Then someone in the crowd called the police on or for me. As he approached me, I was ready to give him the complete business if he didn’t display a spoonful of decency.
He was the sign that people always say they’re looking for from God – sent here to give me a message. He begged me to calm down, sit down and breathe. After several minutes of resistance, I followed his directives without sitting down. It was in this moment that he probably became the best part of this day. A 13-year-old boy from the apartment pulled him from the bottom of the pool. (His name is Matthew.) He informed me The Kid was at University of Michigan hospital. The 1st officer on the scene had administered CPR 3x and he was NOT reviving. The officer went beyond the instructions and tried one more time and The Kid began to choke. My knees gave up on me and I buckled right there in the gas station. He informed me that the pulse was faint but he was en route to the hospital. Thank you, God!
I got in my car as a passenger by legal intervention and allow my ex to drive me there to the hospital. While in the car I called my mother again, she said she was praying for him but she heard the EMS’s siren and knew they were preserving life in the vehicle. She informed me she would be there shortly. I was calming down at a rapid pace. His dad was called and he informed me he would be there. I just needed to see my boy.
When I arrived at the hospital the attendant began telling me to calm down and explained even more to me. She said “he began modeling (1st stage of rigor mortise) and was unresponsive again in the EMS.” At this point, I didn’t care what she had to say. In a VERY authoritative tone, I told her – take me to him now. She informed me she was trying to prepare me for what I was about to see. We began walking toward the room and I told her ‘he just learned how to ride his bike, was only six and was so excited to visit with friends this weekend.’ As I walked in that room, my knees failed me again.
There was a machine assisting him to breathe, tubes were injected in him everywhere and he had a shiny glaze over his entire body. This wasn’t my boy. They hadn’t determined if he was out of the water (no pun intended) and I went to him and whispered in his ear “I’m here… Stay here with me.” I walked out the room and into the waiting area. The Kid’s family started filing in to see him and check on me. I wasn’t in the mood for conversation, hugs or explanations. I needed to know this would be alright despite how it looked. As the early morning hours of the 23rd fell upon us and family members began to go home, I saw the opportunity I was looking for and I took it. I just wanted it to be him and me.
I apologized for not being there and for his current state. I told him I needed to go home but I would be back before he woke up. Getting comfortable in the chairs was almost next to impossible. I guess the chairs were operating as designed. (Just a little work jargon to make me chuckle.) Something inside of me knew that everything would be alright. Around 3 in the morning, I tiptoed out of the hospital, cruised home to shower and get more comfortable.
The next morning he was awake and that evening they took the machines off him. When he saw me he screamed my name in excitement. The next words were etched in my heart and brain for eternity: Him: Mom, we’re about to go swimming. Me: You already went. Him: No, we didn’t. I began to cry. He’s brain damaged was all I could think. It was later explained to me this could be blocked by the traumatic experience and all of the medication his little 6-year-old body was exposed to in the last 24 hours. I accepted this way of thinking. They moved him to another room for observation. Sunday afternoon, we went home.
Outside of some slurred/incoherent speech and reduced cognitive impairment due only to the meds – he was perfect. So, if you ever wonder – why I go to the mat about him it’s because I know he’s been given a second chance. I refuse to sit by and watch him throw it away. So when I hear people say miracles aren’t real – I look or think of my son and tell them “every day is a miracle.” Never stop believing in the impossible.