There's no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Our son

This is our son, Mark...

Here is his story...

Mark was born on July 10, 2006. He became the first, and only, son to two adoring parents and the little brother of three adoring big sisters. Our lives were absolutely full of joy and we felt complete. Mark was a very happy and loving boy.

In August of 2008, our family took a camping trip with several of our extended family...grandparents, cousins, in-laws and more! Ten adults and nine children having a wonderful time playing games, swimming and riding bikes.

Several of the adults and children were far away from the campsite swimming in the shallow area of the lake while everyone else was up at the pavilion playing games with the children. Mark was at the campsite scooting his trucks around in the dirt...under the watch of several adults, as well as one specific family member who had taken primary responsibility for watching him at that time. He was as happy and content as he could be.

As sometimes happens, the cousins were playing together and got into a minor scuffle. Certainly nothing unusual for a few 7 and 8 year olds, but since there was a bit of crying and a minor boo-boo, it drew everyone's attention to that situation. None of us will ever know why, but in those few moments, Mark snuck away while everyone was distracted. He walked behind one of the campers and started down a hill behind the campsite where he couldn't be seen. He went to a small inlet area of water at the bottom of the hill. It was shallow enough for him to walk in, but he must have lost his footing and not been able to stand up.

Just a minute the midst of whatever was still going on at the campsite, I came up from where we had been swimming and immediately asked where Mark was. It was at that moment that everyone realized that he was missing. They couldn't believe that he wasn't there. In fact, I was later told that everyone had just seen him and they told me how shocked they were because he was "just here". We all started running in different directions from the campsite, but I was the one who found him. God only knows why I was the one who had to find him. The images on my sweet baby lying lifeless in the water still replays over and over in my head...every day.
I ran to him and scooped him up from the water. I had started to scream the second that I saw him and so my husband was there to take him from me by the time I got him out. My husband breathed into Mark's mouth and then handed him over to those who began CPR. He still wasn't breathing when the EMS arrived.
I knew at that moment, my life was forever changed...all that I could do was cry and scream that God would not let him die. I felt like I would die myself at any was like I was looking in on this tragedy and it wasn't really happening to us.

Mark was air lifted to the hospital where he remained for a week, without regaining consciousness. On August 11, after the doctors assured us that there was no chance that Mark would recover, we removed the life support from our baby and he died in his daddy's arms. There is no way to describe the horror of that moment. I look back now and wish that I had been at peace, but all that I could do was scream and yell at God. I pounded the bed with my fists and cried so hard that I thought I would die from heartache. I was able to hold Mark for a couple of hours before I had to face the world without him.

Deep down, we had thought that God would heal our baby and leave him here with us. The thought of losing him was too excruciating to imagine. Even to the last minute, we had faith that God would perform a miracle. And He could have...but he didn't.

All that I wanted was to go with him. At times, I still wish that I could already be there with him. It doesn't mean that I don't love my husband and daughters with all of my heart, but it is just that I miss Mark so much. There are no words for the emotional pain and torture that we have been through since Mark's death. I don't know how to live through this kind of sorrow and I am very much lost right now. The thought of living here for the rest of my life without him is overwhelming.

The "whys" of this senseless accident keep me awake at night and consume me every moment of the day. How did this happen? I certainly never thought that it would happen to us. But it did. It happened to the parents who love their children more than anything in this the parents who do everything to keep their children US! It didn't matter that we have spent every moment since we first had children doing everything in our power to protect and love our kids. It STILL happened! We are not perfect and I will never claim to be, but if it happened to us, it can happen to anyone. God has shown us that He is in control and we are not.
I can't place blame on those who were watching him so diligently. Not even on the one family member who had vocalized that they "had him". (You know, "do you have him?"..."yes, I have Mark".)
No, there is no blame, because accidents just happen. There was no neglect, no irresponsibility or wrongdoing. Just an accident. Or God's will. One day we will know.

None of it makes sense and I know that it all must just be a terrible dream that is going to end. Only, every day I wake up and realize that he is gone and my arms ache for him. They ache fiercely to hold my son. I can remember every silly face, every word, every hug and every other sweet part of my baby boy. It is all so wrong for him to be gone.

I do pray that God will choose to show me why we are having to suffer so much, but I also know that our sovereign and mighty God doesn't owe me an explanation. As Job so beautifully acknowledges..."The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised."
Job 1:21b

Until I see Mark again...I will miss him.


  1. I hope you know and can feel all the love, concern and sorrow that we feel for you all. I can't imagine the feelings that you have but as we know, God is in control. Our prayers are with you all, still, and forever. Thank you for including us in the 'Missing Mark' blog and will we will follow it. God bless you all!
    Donna and TL

  2. Tears stream down my face for your sorrow, in seeing your pictures and in reading your blog. How can we support you though this nightmare. Prayers do not seem enough. I know our God is able but we can't help but ask why and when will all of this pain go away? Angie and Joe- welove ya'll so much and are ALWAYS here for you. We feel so far removed now that we are at a different church. We will follow your blog and continue to pray that God will heal and fill the grand canyon that is left in your heart.

  3. Praying for you still.

    We have a daughter that is the same age Mark would be and can't imagine going through this.

    We are friends of Donna Nance. She is the one that connected me to your story in 08 when all this happend. We use to be the youth pastors at Hillcrest in Seguin.

  4. Angie,
    I only know you and your family through my mom, Suzie, but I am very familiar with your story of Mark, in particular. I felt very attached to the grief of those around him last August since our sons are the same age. And still, I cry as I read you recount the events of those days.

    I remember praying for him after his accident and also believing that God wasn't finished with him yet. I don't think I will ever forget that Sunday morning. Mom had asked me to be praying for y'all that morning, and out of the oridinary, I was alone in church that Sunday. As soon as the worship music started, I began thinking of your family and praying for Mark. The church I attended at that time did not usually play hymns, but on that Sunday morning, they began singing "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," and I sat there, tears streaming down my face as I sang it on behalf of your family. Although, I had never done so before, I pulled out my phone and sent my mom a text message to let her know I was praying and singing for little Mark, knowing that in that moment, she'd be doing the same. What I did not know was that she and your church family in McQueeney would be singing that same hymn.

    As the music continued, I approached the throne boldly to ask God to heal Mark even as his life support was being removed. I DID NOT like the answer I received, which came as a surprise to me in both the message and the form: God showed me a vision of Jesus carrying Mark and walking away. I sobbed and sang and prayed and sobbed and sang, knowing that he was headed off to heaven. It was beyond human understanding, to say the least.

    I am so thankful you have decided to write through your grief. Those of us who haven't walked in your shoes can still walk alongside as we read and learn better how to pray. We pray for the health of your family and the children who are at home with you still. We pray that God would give you comfort and peace, as impossible as that sounds. I can honestly say that, although the thought of losing a child has crossed my mind on many occassions, I cannot even pretend to imagine your pain. Please know that you are loved and held.

    p.s. If reading other parent's stories is helpful to you, I encourage you to read our cousin's story of their 4-year old daughter's short life. Their courage still astounds me...their journal is located at the following address (in reverse chronological order.)

  5. What a beautiful little boy. I'm so glad you're here to share your precious Mark with us. I look forward to reading more.


  6. Hello Angie,

    I am a friend of Sarah's and have found your link on her facebook page. Sarah told me about Mark when we reconnected earlier this year. I am currently living in Bogota, Colombia and I want you to know that my sister and I sat together and cried when we heard what happened to Mark.

    Thank you for being so generous with your heartache as to share it in this way. I hope and pray that your family's grief subsides just a little each day and that whatever God's plan is for you is revealed little by little.

    You are right in your post, as torturous as it is, good parents, good people suffer terrible tragedies and there is no explanation. I continue to think of your family often and keep you in my prayers.

    With love,

    Natalia Rico Hernandez

  7. So handsome, so perfect!! :0)

  8. Hey Angie-

    I just read your first post.....I cannot imagine how your arms are aching. Please know that you have been on my mind several times over the past several months. Your family has always been in our prayers.

  9. I found your blog through my friend Emily's blog (Four Girls One God aka Miller Grace's Momma). I'm praying for you. 9 1/2 years ago my 2 year old daughter died from AML leukemia. I can't tell you that it'll stop hurting, but you learn to live day by day and one day you'll find you are experience more joy, and feeling more joy in your life than sorrow. It takes time, your eyes are on Jesus and he's the way to that joy again. I pray you continue to be gentle with yourself.

    God Bless

  10. Angie,

    You don't know me, but I know of you.

    I remember that Sunday... when our church out at Forest Hills prayed so hard for you guys... as I literally left church to go check your brother's blog to see the updates... and as I read the news of Mark's passing. I remember how my eyes filled with tears for this baby boy and for you and Joe --- even though I didn't know you personally. As the mommy of four (three boys and lastly a girl), I knew how painful it would be... although I could never fully understand, nor do I want to.

    I grieved that morning for a family her in our little town. I grieved for you and with you.

    A friend just sent me the link to your blog today - over a year later, and now I get to "meet" you slightly more. I read all the way back to this first post. Imagine my surprise when I logged in to leave a comment and the very first comment ever received here was from my aunt - Aunt Donna & Uncle TL.

    It's such a small world.

    Anyway, I just wanted to give you a "cyber hug" and now if I run into you in Wal-Mart, you'll know who the stranger that hugs your neck is! Okay?

    From your sister-in-Christ,


  11. I just found your blog. I'm so sorry for your loss. We lost our beautiful 2.5 year old daughter on Labor Day, September 7, 2009, in much the same way. I haven't had a chance to read all of your posts, but I will. I have read and know that it is possible to survive this pain. Praying for you

  12. Oh, I am so very sorry. I am particulary touched by your story. I've become accustomed to reading "sad" stories but Mark's is so real. I visualized every moment you described. My heart aches for you and your family. I can't imagine the images that play back in your mind and the what if's and why's?? If you'd only known.... I don't know how people go on without their children. I understand we have to, for our other children but I used to honestly believe that if one of my babies died, I'd stop breathing right then and there. Now, I know that's not so and that itself is truly breath taking. I will never understand why we must endure such tragedies. Why innocent children must die? I will never forget your little Mark. He has truly captured my heart...perhaps I feel so drawn because I have 4 boys of my own and my youngest is almost Mark's age (when he passed). Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  13. I read this with a lump in my throat... Hugs and prayers...

  14. I cannot stop crying for you right now....I wil be hugging my 13 month old a little tighter tonight. I pray you and your family find peace... *hugs*


    I encourage you to read Sheye's story about her Super Princess Ava.

    I pray for strength for you and your family.
    God Bless.

  16. I'm not sure how I ran across your blog tonight...but...I did.

    Almost 31 years ago, I witnessed my older brother's death.

    He was 9. I was 5.

    He drowned in the community pool of our apartment complex.

    I watched him run and dive off the diving board. He didn't hit his head. I remember that he didn't come up. I remember my mother wearing a green bathing suit. I remember that she dived in to retrieve him and came up empty handed screaming for help because he was too heavy. I remember watching CPR after a man dressed in a suit jumped in to help my mother...

    I remember so vividly that day. June 15, 1978.

    His name was Mark.

    Here's a post about that day...

    My mother also has a blog. She talks about Mark alot...

    She also wrote a very touching post to other mothers who have lost children. After 30 years, she continues to carry this grief in her heart...

  17. I am so glad that you connected with me. I am just sorry that we share the same grief. It's so incredibly hard, I know.

    I hate the fact that we are in the same, awful club but I do find it comforting to know that I am not alone. I have always been an overprotective parent too. Maybe we just always knew that something bad was going to happen. I don't know. I know that my friends used to give me a hard time about it but I didn't care. I just wanted to protect my kids. In the end, I couldn't protect Nate from the hospital's mistake. That's a hard one for me.

    I loved looking at all of Mark's photos. Your sweet son is such a cutie!!! I am so sorry that this happened to you.

    Big hugs,

  18. Praying like crazy for you. You are very heavy on my heart. There are just no words.

  19. I am here for you if you ever need to talk. We have lived the same tragedy as you all have. I'm so, so sorry. The Lord is good, and He will make things better. Heaven is so much more attractive, and I want to meet Jesus and see my Ethan again. :o) Hugs!