The comeback

IMG_8688For whatever reason, my first memories of Shep’s drowning have made a resurgence these last few days. It’s unexpected and seems unprompted but still they’ve come, late at night or even in broad day. This Sunday I sat next to Erron in church listening to worship music but in my head I was walking into Shep’s hospital room for the first time. It was loud, from the oscillating ventilator that was pushing air in and out of his water logged lungs at 200 breaths per minute. It made his whole chest vibrate. The room was filled with staff. I remember a nurse walking me in then immediately guiding me to a chair just inside the doorway. Later, I learned she sat me down because my legs were giving out. I never even noticed. What I do remember is asking for a bag and dry heaving into it as I tried to wrap my head around what was happening.

The other night, when the memories wouldn’t relent, I suck out of bed and crawled into Shep’s, wrapping my arms around his breathing body while I begged God to make the movie reel stop. I’m beginning to wonder if I am going to have to write the memories all out. I wasn’t ready to take that on yet. It will wreck me.

But maybe it could heal me also? Writing about the guilt over Shep’s accident was certainly a game changer for my aching heart.

I think the shock of it all was, (and still is) the hardest part. I was just so unprepared, so oblivious to the fact that losing Shepherd could even be in the realm of possibility for my life. Yes, I had definitely felt that fear when he was born much too early….but nothing like the day he fell in. That very day, I’d sat by the pool with my parents and told them about the secondary drowning article that was circulating the internet last summer. I described the symptoms…just so we all knew. What I didn’t know, was that an hour later I’d be back at the pool’s edge, scrambling to reach for my beautiful boy as my mom struggled to drag his body to the stairs. His perfect skin blue, his unusually large eyes cloudy and fixed…staring. I was certain we were too late. That he was gone.  I wasn’t ready for it. I wasn’t ready.

I don’t want this blog to forever focus solely on what happened to Shepherd. I don’t want to forever focus it on it.  There is so much other life to write about, the beautiful parts, and the parts that are funny, the hard, the fun, and the pretty, so much more life then those terrifying moments. And I’ve learned I love to write about all of it here. But Shepherd’s accident, his miraculous recovery, and God’s peace in the midst of our pain and panic will forever be a part of our family’s story.  So… to move on without really telling it may not work for me.

But it’s going to hurt to like hell to write and I’m still not convinced this is the best medium for it. As painful as it is to write, I know it’s also hard to read.

So in the meantime, I’m going to stall a bit longer with some way more enjoyable things to write about. Things that matter to me. Like sister Charlotte turning 2 next month. And my crazy talented sister-in-law, Chelsea Ahlgrim, will grace this space with some photography tips for the totally untalented moms like me, who are only comfortable capturing little moments with an iphone. The hard stuff will always be there, but right now I’m in the mood for a little fun.

I made this my profile pic the day after Shep fell in. I love his eyes in this picture. The 3 of us were having
I made this my profile picture the day after Shep fell in. I love his eyes in this picture. The 3 of us were having We are still having so much fun. And I’m so thankful.

5 thoughts on “The comeback

  1. Oh Allie, I believe God chooses those with an honest heart to have the greatest impact in this world full of suffering. I am soooo encouraged and proud that He called you and you eagerly responded with great faith and obedience which is what I also believe has given you the great peace you speak of. I also replay the suffering I have endured from my dads passing, my cancer, my best friend and sister’s still births, and so many other heavy stories in my head. God gave me those experiences and has called me to process then with HIM then be transformed to see the world differently. I watch the news differently, I talk to my neighbors differently, I rant on my Facebook differently. 😉 I also feel I have words I never had before and want to blog and share when God is done refining my heart and allows me the time. I see you being given those words straight from God above to impact this world in HIS glory being know . The Holy Spirit is at work bringing back those memories allowing you opportunities to share and heal but you are wise in that sometimes God tells us we need to take breaks and soak up blessings of great joy to allow us mental, emotional and spiritual rest. Our friends and family can’t sustain on us always being so serious and deep, ha!! 😉 I have to choose to come out of those deep waters and surface up for a breath daily. I’m right there with you on this journey friend. You have lived through Hell but not only survived, you have come out with a greater purpose in living. Those dark places will still hurt deeply but I’ll pray that the JOY and light and colors granted today outshine them all since you have the love and truth of Christ to make every detail of life a miracle in giving us great purpose and peace in living, breathing, loving, even suffering to know this is a greater joy to come.

  2. I love watching Shep. I am a Mom of an accident drowning, My Beautiful Son Mikey was 3 and I too pulled him out. He didn’t make it, he went with the Lord on September 4, 1998. I have struggled with the replay during the day & night but I do cope thru it. I take great pleasure in watching Sheps progress and he Does help me (: I believe you and Shep are here to continue to help other drowning parents to have hope and cope and I thank you for that. I miss my son on the daily but I look forward to checking in on Shep when I get home from work. He is truly a Blessing to many. Thank You for sharing his journey. God Bless

  3. Oh, Allie. There is no right or wrong way to try and purge that horrible loop in your head. In fact, if I had to guess… The right medium will change day to day! Sometimes writing will feel right, sometimes it may be a quiet talk with your husband… Or there may come a day where you just have to curl up in a ball and yell at the top of your lungs.

    But the important part is: you’re braving it.

    Not everyone could prop themselves up in front of that mirror and start chipping away at your new trauma-induced lead vest.

    There is no timeline.
    There is no pressure.
    There is no right or wrong way.
    There is only you. YOU are enough, it just won’t feel like it. ❤️

  4. Sweet Allie,

    I follow your blog from my friendship with Chelsea. My heart broke for you when I learned of the horrible accident. We had just lost my granddaughter Rylie,3, to leukemia not long before, so my initial reaction was anger. I was already angry at God for letting our sweet baby girl leave us so soon. What I have since realized is that her work on this earth was complete far far sooner than we would have liked, and she was indeed the lucky one. Nonetheless, we were left with a type of PTSD that fortunately not many parents have to face. The type the haunts you to the very core of your existance. My point is, it does pass and you will be whole again. By the Lord’s grace, our bodies and minds do get past the unimaginable. What you are going through now is normal and, as hard as it seems, a part of healing. Shep is here with you for a purpose. The lessons learned for everyone are for a purpose, not that we get to always know that reason, but there is one! It has made you realize how strong you are and that both you and Shep are survivors!

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