Had my son, Christopher James (C.J.) survived, he would be 13 years old today. He died 11 years ago, when he was only two. Accidental drowning. It was one of the worst things as a parent that I had ever gone through: no parent should ever have to outlive their child; yet that is exactly what happened to me.
C.J. was a beautiful little boy with fire-engine red hair and huge, bright-blue eyes that twinkled merrily. He was one of the happiest little fellows anywhere and nothing daunted him. C.J. was absolutely fearless; he would try everything!
Then came June 14, 2001.
That day changed my world forever. That was the day C.J. drowned in our backyard pool. I happened to be the one finding him floating lifeless in the water. I dove in, fully clothed, and got him out. He was limp and not moving; when I turned C.J. over onto his back, I was disheartened to see that his face was paper-white and that his lips were dark blue.
He was not breathing.
I immediately hollered for my neighbor to call the ambulance while I started CPR on him. I wasn't sure whether I was doing it right, but I was determined to try to help my son.
It seemed like forever, but the ambulance came in less than three minutes. I was never so glad to see the paramedics in all my days! I knew they would help my boy. I prayed desperate prayers of petition to God while I watched the paramedics do their job. I was scared, somewhat for myself, but mainly for my precious baby boy, C.J.
Yet it was not to be: C.J. died before the ambulance even reached the hospital. The paramedics could not bring him back. The doctor broke the grave news to me five minutes after I had reached the hospital. My world ended that day.
I don't remember the funeral (or had I mercifully blocked it out?). All those days are still a blank to me. Yet I know C.J. is dead because I go to his grave at the cemetary several times a week, to pay my respects and to remember him. Today I went and took some new flowers and put another teddy bear by his gravestone.
I wonder what C.J. would be like if he were still here. I wonder if he would be taller than me, or if he still had his bright red hair or those beautiful, intense blue eyes with the ridiculously long lashes (he didn't get his lashes from me, that was for sure: he got that from his mother!). I wonder if he would be interested in girls, as all teenaged boys seem to be or what his interests were. I wonder what he would be when he grew up or whether he would join the military or attend college.
The C.J. I know and remember is the little two-year-old boy whose constant shriek of joy and courageous spirit never failed to amaze me or others. He is still two years old in my mind's eye although in two days, on the 26th of June, he would have been celebrating his 13th birthday.
I used to break down whenever I heard his name or thought about him, but now I can talk about my baby boy without losing it. I know he is in Heaven, with Jesus, and his grandpa; he is probably having the time of his life up there!
I know now that God had a purpose for taking my son so early; while the pain of losing him will always be a part of my heart, I still have the memories of my son and know that he will always live on. I will never forget my precious C.J. and I thank God that I was his dad for two short (but wonderful) years!