The kind of moment I hoped would never happen.

It happened.

The moment that I will never forget where my son's life flashed before my eyes. I was seconds away from losing him....

I took the kids swimming....my son and 2 other children who are now like family, ages 7 and 2....

My son didn't want to swim, he just wanted to watch, and throw the balls at us and squirt us with water guns...

My attention was on 3 places at once. I thought I could handle it safely....

Then....I heard a splash.

My son was in the water. He did very well. He was basically swimming on his own! But I saw him take in some water. I got to him in what seemed like forever but was only a couple of seconds. I got to thinking....

What if I hadn't seen him before it was too late? A HUGE wave of guilt came over me and I cry as I type this.

I have to admit.

I thanked God for drawing my attention to him so quickly. A couple of seconds later, and....

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It's happened to me.  I had to stop him climbing out of an upstairs window.  Think how bad you feel.  That's why you're a good mum. 

Thank you friend :)

I am glad he is ok.  Many years ago, I stood by my brother's hospital bed as he fought for life after sustaining a traumatic brain injury in a motorcycle accident.  I didn't believe in God, but I prayed anyway.  I bargained for his life.  Now, of course, I see the folly in that, but I felt so helpless.  He survived, and I did finally keep my side of the bargain - I vowed to not touch alcohol again.

I have also had an incident where my son's life flashed before my eyes.  We were dog-sitting a big sweetie of a boxer.  He got out and made a run right across the street where our neighbor was getting out of the car.  I told my son to stay in our yard, but in his excitement, he ran across the street behind me.  A car that neither of us had seen came to a screeching stop to avoid hitting him.  I still feel sick and a little dizzy if I think about that too much.  I may have said, "Thank you, thank you, thank you,"  but there really was nobody to thank besides the alert driver.  I felt guilty for not paying better attention, but I was focused on trying to not have the dog scare/bite the neighbor.

I imagine every parent has had moments like this.  Our lives could have changed in an instant.   It is only natural to thank goodness, god, the universe, or whatever.

@Diane, yes, these are life changing moments. I'm still emotionally affected by what happened. I didn't sleep well.

RE: Now, of course, I see the folly in that, but I felt so helpless.

The question I keep asking myself is, "is it folly?"

I'm doubting everything I thought I believed (or didn't believe.)

If there is no God, why was he the first person I cried out to when my son could have died?

Am I really an atheist?

I don't know
I don't know
I don't know

It's also natural to doubt your own position in life and it's actually a good thing. It's a sign that you are human. I think God is a concept that people come up with based off of a highly emotional experience. Many people say spiritual, but I really think it's just high emotion. I'm not surprised that you are still shaken by this event. Although, just saying "Thank you, God" doesn't mean that you aren't an atheist. Most atheists say it at times because it is a socially common phrase to say when seemingly miraculous things happen. It's a phrase we've all heard thousands of times and it's the most fitting thing to describe any favorable outcome. Just because you thought of God doesn't mean it exists. I think emotion is what should be focused on when these kind of things happen. Always remember that strong emotions change your thinking patterns and can blur the lines of logical thinking in your head. Don't worry, it's perfectly normal the way you feel right now. It'd be normal even if you are still jittery after two whole weeks. If it continues to bother you, then it will definitely change your thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs.

I'm glad your kid is okay, Belle.

If there is no God, why was he the first person I cried out to when my son could have died?

Because that was your go-to answer for how many years before?

Am I really an atheist?

If you don't believe in god, yes.

I agree that it is natural to thank something that you think may have guided you into avoided a tragic situation. We know that we have very limited powers when it comes to our personal skills and abilities. The most important thing is that you kept calm enough to save your son. We all have moments when we thank higher powers which are unclear in whether they exist or not. Anyways, what matters at the end of the day, is that you were the one who saved your son and is still here with you today because you had the knowledge, strength, and abilities to do so. :)

RE: The most important thing is that you kept calm enough to save your son. We all have moments when we thank higher powers which are unclear in whether they exist or not. Anyways, what matters at the end of the day, is that you were the one who saved your son and is still here with you today because you had the knowledge, strength, and abilities to do so. :)

I think you're right Ari, but what if I had looked over even 5 seconds later? I could have lost my son out of my own negligence. I can't give myself credit for saving when I should have been protecting him better. I don't deserve that credit.

Almost losing your son is a big deal. Let it settle in and take your time. I know that it seemed to be miraculous but all sorts of things happens to people everyday. Almost all of those people want to have something to thank for something that was completely out of their control. Although, who's to say what really happened? God is a word used to describe anything seemingly miraculous that happens. There could be a real unknown alternative force to God that could have intervened in this event. There's no way to know if it was a supernatural thing that happened or just an event that you happened to catch on to. I can't tell you what happened because I wasn't there and don't know if there is anything supernatural in this world. In the meantime, just take your time thinking it through. :)

Belle - "what if I had looked over even 5 seconds later?"  - whatever happened, you were going to find him straight away.  I'm sure you were like a vigilant meerkat who got distracted for maybe 5 seconds.  If you had looked over 5 seconds later, the situation would have been no worse.  He wouldn't have burst into flames in that time. 

Maybe this will make you even more vigilant.

When I was a child, I once pushed my little sister. No big deal, right? I didn't see the coffee table behind her. Her head hit the edge. Whole lot of shock and regret and sorrow happened in those 2 seconds. And I swore, at 7 years old, never again. Never again.

I aliken it to when Batman watched his parents get killed and he said "Never again. Not while I draw breath. Not on my watch." We must be Batman!
RE: Maybe this will make you even more vigilant.

Damn right it will!!!

I have always tried to be a vigilant, safe, but not overly protective mom. I let my son explore the world in ways that (I hope) let him reach his potential..but I think I am not going to do this again without my son wearing a life vest until he knows how to swim. Watching 3 young children at a pool by myself is not to be taken lightly. In hind sight it was probably pretty stupid.

I guess on the bright side, once he got in the water now he loves it!!!! I'm taking him swimming tomorrow, just the two of us. I'm going to teach him how to swim this summer.

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