It was probably one of my more scary and helpless moments. My husband looked at me and said, “Help!”
Let me take a few steps back.
Little Boy and Jeff were swimming together. Little Boy had his life jacket and an inflatable toy to practice swim kicks on. Jeff decided to take Little Boy to the swimming dock (as they had done before without issue). Little Boy would hold on to his toy and kick while Jeff swam next to him tugging the inflatable toy.
As they approached the dock, Jeff lifted Little Boy up to the diving dock’s ladder and the inflatable toy shot out into the water. I saw it all happen from the beach. Knowing Little Boy had a lifejacket on I wasn’t too worried until I saw Jeff decide to go after it. From my vantage point, I could see the current carrying it away quickly. Jeff had a problem – Little Boy didn’t want to sit safely on the dock. Jeff, still not thinking the toy was very far away, decided to take Little Boy with him. Let me re-iterate – Little Boy had a life jacket on – I knew he would be ok. I knew Jeff would make sure Little Boy was with him at all times.
But all the sudden I saw Jeff wasn’t moving. Later on, he relayed to me what happened.
Jeff saw how fast the toy was floating away and decided to turn back to the dock. Little Boy saw how fast his toy was floating away and panicked. He cried out, grabbed my husband’s neck and squeezed so hard that Jeff lost his air. He struggled with Little Boy for a minute or so to get his arms off his neck and was finally able to successfully hold Little Boy at arm’s distance by his lifejacket. But by that time, he couldn’t catch his breath as the water was lapping over his head at each current’s wave. His legs started to feel like lead.
About this time, I noticed Jeff wasn’t making any progress in his swim back to the dock. I ran out on the dock connected to the beach and yelled, “Are you ok?”
“No. Help!” I could see he was gasping for air.
I don’t usually panic in emergency situations, but I did. I was so scared I was going to lose my husband. I could see that Little Boy was just fine, but it was Jeff’s voice that scared me the most.
I am not a strong swimmer and would be absolutely no help trying to dive in the water. I called for Bridgette who ran to the canoe to meet them in the lake. Just as she got within 2 feet of them, the current started carrying her away. She was only able to throw a lifejacket to Jeff before she was too far from them.
I then panicked and ran to the next door cabin where I knew a man Jeff’s size was staying.
As I ran, Jeff grabbed on to the life jacket in the water. Later he told me it helped him just long enough to catch his breath and to think clearly. He realized that if he could just swim a little bit, he could get himself to the shallow part of the lake and would be able to stand up.
As I turned to return to the lake with an able man, my husband and Little Boy were standing in the shallow part of the lake with a “thumbs up” sign.
Relief flooded my body. I felt so helpless and the sheer fact that I could have lost him that day pounded my mind throughout the rest of the week.
Only through God’s protection are our family members safe. It was only by God’s hand that Jeff is still with me. I am so grateful that Jeff’s times are in God’s hands. I am so grateful I can trust God to shield and cover my husband.
And next time he better be wearing a life jacket too!