It was an afternoon just like any other. We went to the beach - like we do most days. The kids were excited and impatient to dip their feet in the sea and splash about so my husband took them while I unpacked the toys.
I was just about to sit down when I saw my son lose balance and fall in the water fully dressed. My husband was right by him so he quickly picked him up and started walking back to the sand. At the same time I looked over to check what my daughter was up to but...
I couldn't see her.
My heart sank.
Then I realised she was right there in the same place she was standing previously but no longer standing up. She was lying on her back unable to get up.
MY DAUGHTER WAS DROWNING!
All of a sudden I felt an amazing amount of heat travel through my body and everything seemed to happen in slow motion. You know when you are having a nightmare and you try to call for help but no one can hear you regardless of how loud you call them? It was just like that. When I saw my daughter lying on her back I started shouting, 'Help her, she can't get up. Help her. HELP HER!!!!!' My husband was right there but had his back turned as he was dealing with my son and the sea was so loud he couldn't hear me calling for help.
I started running. I ran like I have never run before. It must have taken me a couple of seconds to get to her but it felt like an eternity.
'THIS IS IT. SHE'S GONE.'
When I finally got to her I picked her up and smacked her hard on the back. She was choking. I remember thinking, 'this is it. She is gone.' Suddenly there was a faint 'Mummy' and then another 'Mummy' and I knew she was OK. She wasn't gone. She was still with us. JUST!
Suddenly my body started to shake from head to toe and I couldn't stop crying or let go of her. We were both soaking wet but I just couldn't let go. I needed to feel her next to me. I needed to feel her breathing, I needed to feel her heartbeat. I needed to know she was OK.
SHE WAS OK.
I was a mess. I just couldn't believe I'd almost lost my daughter.
My little girl almost drowned while dipping her feet in the sea. The water barely reaching her ankles. How could this be? How could this happen to us? We go to the beach every day. The kids play in the sea every day. Both my husband and I were close by and still she ALMOST DROWNED!
I have replayed that afternoon's events in my head over and over again since it happened.
If only my husband hadn't turned his back to her while helping her brother
If only I kept my eyes on her.
If only I didn't assume she would be OK because she barely had her feet in the water.
It has taken me a long time to to write about that afternoon's events. I suppose I just wasn't ready. To be honest I'm not sure if I'm ready now. I feel I have to. I feel I owe it to you. Hopefully sharing that afternoon's events will help raise awareness of how easy it is for a young child to drown.
You always think it won't happen to you but trust me, it can happen to anyone.
It can take less than a minute for a drowning to occur. So please keep a vigilant watch over your kids while they are in the water - even if they are just standing near to or in very shallow water - and you should be able to prevent unnecessary accidents.
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