The day was April 11th, 2004, in Irmo, South Carolina. It was the day my life had changed. It was the worst day and the best day of my life. It was the day I quit believing in God, Jesus, and the Bible.
It was midmorning on that day when my wife and I took our children, ages 11, 4, and 4, outside to our in-ground swimming pool where the twins loved taking turns holding on to me while I swam from one side to the other. We played for about 2 hours until it was time for lunch. After drying off, we went inside to eat.
Once we had finished eating, my wife told me that she was going back outside to lay out by the pool and asked me to take her cup of ice water and set it by her lounge chair which was located at the deep end of the pool next to the diving board. As requested, I took her cup outside and as I bent down to place it beside her chair, where she could easily reach for it while tanning, something told me to place it behind her chair so to be in the shade. After completing my task, I went back inside to turn on the Master’s golf tournament.
I sat down and leaned back in recliner to relax and enjoy some golf but as soon as I turned the television on, I noticed the cable service was off. I called my local cable provider to correct the issue and while on hold to speak to an agent, I heard a scream. At first, I didn’t think anything of it but then I heard the scream again. I knew the voice very well. It was coming from my wife.
I immediately dropped the phone and started running towards the rear of the house where our sunroom was located. There was a storm door which opened outward to the pool that was only four feet from the steps. I pushed the door open and from the top step I dove towards the pool. While in midair, I caught out of the corner of my right eye a figure laying in the fetal position at the bottom of the deep end of the pool. It was my four-year-old son Noah.
I was at the bottom of the pool in the blink of an eye and grabbed his arm to pull him to the surface. As we surfaced, I lifted his lifeless body out of the water and laid him onto the concrete which surrounded the pool. I sprung myself out of the water and checked his vitals. He was not breathing and there was no pulse.
My son was dead.
Tears started to pour from my eyes and the screaming from my wife still filled the air. I yelled at her at the top of my lungs to call 911 as I proceeded to start CPR.
I immediately noticed my breath was not getting into his lungs and so I reached my left forearm under both of his legs behind the knees and raised the knees towards his chest while at the same time turning his head to the side.
Instantly all of the water in his lungs gushed out of his mouth. Without hesitation, I started CPR again. At this point I was crying profusely and started praying to God. I begged Him to please give my son back and to take me instead for Noah was only 4 years old and just starting life and I had lived enough of my life at the age of 33. That was my prayer to God and as soon as I finished that prayer, God answered and instantly Noah started coughing and breathing.
As I stared at my son, I remember having the feeling as if there were an invisible dense fog that engulfed me and my son. I fully believe God was showing his presence and I thanked him for showing His love and grace. I began to cry again but tears of joy. Noah was unconscious but alive.
Before I could check Noah again, a hand was placed on to my shoulder and a voice stated,
“I’ve got him.”
It was a paramedic. He picked Noah up and carried him to an ambulance which would take him to a waiting helicopter nearby. From there, they would airlift him to Palmetto Richland Children’s Hospital in Columbia, South Carolina.
While I was catching my breath and still wiping tears off of my face, my wife informed me that she was going with Noah and the ambulance. As I looked around, I saw my two daughters, Autumn and Noah’s twin Kennedy, holding one another tearful from the event they had just witnessed. My neighbor, who had heard the screaming and ran over to our backyard, told me she would watch over the girls for me while I jumped up and ran towards my car to get to the hospital. With flashers on, I sped down the interstate at rates of speed over 100 miles per hour. I made it to the hospital in record time.
When I arrived at the emergency intake, I could see my wife standing in a doorway of a room. I called to her as I was walking very fast in her direction. She looked up at me with tears in her eyes. Next to her was a priest who also turned and looked at me as I approached them. I gave her a hug and kiss and when I let go of her, I turned my attention to the priest and started cursing. Seeing my wife’s crying and the priest consoling her made me think something had happened to Noah on the way to the hospital. I stopped cursing when I looked and saw no one [Noah?] laying on the gurney and still unconscious and breathing.
There were several nurses and doctors tending to him. As I got closer and closer to Noah, a doctor started a pupil test on his eyes. My heart sank. Neither pupil responded to the light that had been shown into them. I put my head down and gazed at the floor as tears started pouring again from my eyes. Noah had signs of brain damage due to the lack of oxygen while underwater.
Just as I had put my head down, Noah started crying. More like whimpering as he started to speak with his eyes still closed. He was asking for his blanket which at that time he still would carry it around the house at all times. I reached over towards my wife and grab his blanket. I placed it right beside his head and spread it out some to where he could feel it. Once he realized he had his blanket, he slowly started opening his eyes.
I quickly put my hand up to shield his eyes from the bright lights in the room. With his eyes now wide open, he looked at me and said something that I will never forget. In a soft voice he said to me,
“I want to go back to the people in the light.”
I turned and looked at the priest who was still standing beside me. His face was flushed and his eyes were wide open in amazement. I knew right then Noah had entered into heaven. I looked at Noah with a smile and told him he would be okay and that I would not leave his side.
Shortly after his stay in the hospital I was able to recount the events of that day Noah drowned. I realized that God heard my prayer and knew the conviction in my heart. He granted my son back to me I believe because I meant what I prayed. My belief in Him was strong.
Also, placing the cup of ice water behind my wife’s chair made her get up from tanning to look for it. It was because she had to get up that she noticed Noah at the bottom of the pool. It was God that gave me the notion of where to place the cup because He knew of the event that was soon to unfold.
I stated in the beginning of this story that it was the worst and best day of my life because in one moment I was holding my dead son and the next moment my son was alive again. Noah had been underwater for approximately 10 minutes that day and he did not have any brain damage. The doctors could not explain how.
Today, Noah is 23 years old and has graduated from his trade school and has a great job. Finally, I also stated at the beginning of this story that I had quit believing in God on that day. I quit being a believer and became a knower of God. I also found out that heaven is real. I know this to be true because my four-year-old son told me so.