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 later...in 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 moment...it 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 world...to the parents who do everything to keep their children safe...to 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."
Until I see Mark again...I will miss him.