My Beautiful Family

Hi, Im Jo-ann Morris, a doting mother of 3 beautiful kids and a devoted Wife. Im 40 something but my birthdays these days are going backwards so Im now 37 years old. I have a sense of humour but sometimes a little warped.  Our life was headed in the right direction, we were happy and looked forward to a promising future.

On the 9th of April 2006 our youngest child, our only Son had a terrible accident. Samuel had a near drowning and our perfect life was changed forever in a split second.

This blog will follow the story of my Son Samuel and his survival of a drowning and of my family and the struggles of adjustment of daily life. The ups and downs and all the in betweens of something so horrific. Until I have caught up with the past 3 years and 11 months I will go back and forth with the past and the present.

This is my opinion, my experiences and how I see the world. It is not necessarily how other families circumstances are as each child and drowning experience is unique.

I hope this blog helps other families who have lost a child or who are dealing with a child that has survived a drowning. If you are one of those families I would love you to contact me, comment on the posts and in the future as I get better at blogging to share parts of your journey.

Drownings affect a wide range of people including siblings, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, friends, Pre-school Teachers, Teachers, Emergency Services people and the wider Community. If you are in anyway affected by a drowning or a near drowning I invite you to contribute your stories as well.

I will be talking about our experiences in the health system so I welcome Doctors and other Health Proffessionals who may deal with children like Samuel to also join in the discussion and in the future to contribute to my blog by sharing their experiences in dealing with drowning and near drowning in children.

Thankyou for reading my blog

Jo-ann XXXX

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16 Responses
  1. Debbie Hammond says:

    So well written Jo-ann,
    This information and your words on your journey are so important to such a huge range of people. I post all your blogs, video’s or warnings and I think I’ve had maybe “one” comment back. I find this truly FRIGHTENING. Either people are reading and watching my posts, can’t be bothered to comment or just sitting at their computers with their heads in the ground saying, “This will never happen to me, so it’s no relevant” or “Why does Deb post such things as it’s so sad and depressing”? You can never have too much information. Yes, it’s sad and depressing, loosing a child is depressing, but it’s also TRUE LIFE EXPERIENCES not some Farmland game I am playing on FB.
    I have 6 beautiful grand kids, but sadly I don’t think their parents are taking my attemps to inform them seriously. After all, what would I know!!!!!!
    I have seen pool gates propped open, toddlers left within the pool area as parents walk inside to get something, leaving both my partner and I frantic with words of warning. Only to be told to stop being such a WORRY WORT >>>>> our mouths were left gaping as this may be their children, but they are also our beautiful Grand kiddies . Friends with kiddies, tons of distant relatives with kiddies that read my FB each day and yet, still NO comments. We would never take those chances, not even the smallest if they were in our care.
    Some people just aren’t prepared to listen or take advice from those like yourself that have first hand experiences of tragic accidents >>>>>> So, So, Sad and frustrating.
    I’m sorry if I got on my “Soap Box” but I want your Blogs to be heard as you take the time to reach out desperately to people in an effort to stop even ONE more toddler drowning/near death drowning.
    Jo-ann keep up the good work, I am sure there are a lot of people listening to what you are saying, they just don’t happen to be on my FB page unfortunately. If they are reading my posts, please take the time to comment, it may prompt others to read or watch the video’s. Each child’s life is precious.
    Jo-ann, I pray that you and your family may find peace as you relive your very sad story in these blogs.
    I admire your strength,
    luv Debbie Hammond xx

  2. theboss says:

    If only there was someone like me talking and educating others about her childs tragedy. If there was such a person I wouldve listened and checked my fences and I wouldve found the fault in my 4 year young fence. You cant force anyone to listen but I will persevere because maybe those that havent taken notice now, something in the future may make them take notice. Some of the things I post are sad, depressing and confronting so its hard to watch or read and even harder to comment on.
    Im a careful Mum and I was one of those that thought this would never happen to me so no-one can ever become complacent about their ability of being a careful parent. Accidents can, do and will happen, thats why its called an accident.
    Australia is surrounded by water, there are oceans, seas, bays and inlets etc. There are rivers, creeks, streams, lakes and ponds etc. All of which are natural water sources across our country. The man made water sources that Australia has are dams, man made lakes and man made ponds. In the average persons back yards are pools, spas, fish ponds, buckets, water bowls, water tanks garbage bins and water features in the garden. In every household there are toilets, washing machines, nappy buckets, bath tubs, kitchen sinks and fish tanks.
    Drowning is such a big deal and so easily preventable. I had no idea how devastating to a person surviving a drowning can be, so trust me, prevention is much better than the cure because there is NO cure. My son became disabled within minutes, I now watch him deform his body, bones dont sit where they used to anymore because of his brain injury. He doesnt even have a long life expectancy. All this from a healthy, happy, normal little boy that had the world at his feet. As his Mother my heart breaks and I will never be the same ever again. Even though my son is alive 4 years later, I actually lost him 4 years ago, I cant even grieve him yet.
    Debbie, you get back on you soap box and keep spreading the word of drowning prevention. Your kids or your friends or relatives may thank you for it one day. I thank you for helping me make people aware of my cause.

    Jo-ann XXXX

  3. richard Vetzel says:

    Hello, my name is Richard and I am now a 44 year old man but when I was roughly (8) years old, I nearly drowned and to this day, I will never forget the panic as it pervades my dreams every-single-night. I constantly wake up gasping for air and I still think that I am drowning even though it has been many, many years since it happened…

    To me, I am still that little boy that was flailing in the water and I can only thank God that a boy was riding his bicycle and saw me as he jumped into the water and saved me otherwise, I would not be here today to write this letter.

    I think about him often and I think about finding a way to repay to him for what he did for me and I wish that I could throw him a parade and make sure that everyone knows that he was a true hero because he saved my life.

    I have considered contacting Oprah Winfrey and surprising him with a parade so that everyone knows that that he is the reason that I am here today.

    His name is Tommy Browning and I wish that I could meet him again so that I could give him a big hug and say “thank you” because I have a life that is so much worth living and I will never forget him nor will I ever be able to thank him enough for what he did for me when I was just a little kid.

    May God Bless You All,

  4. grace says:

    hi, i’ve worked on near drowning cases and i’d like to help prevent such cases.

  5. teresa mantione says:

    Hi, my name is Teresa. I am 45 yrs old. When I was 5 yrs old I almost drowned. It was the winter of 1972 in NY. Lots of snow on the ground. I was 5 yrs old and I was playing with my friends 3 houses down from mine. The neighbor who lives next door to my friends house (Mrs leszak) has a above ground pool. The pool had a cover on it and it had the big ball in the middle. ice was on top of the pool all around the ball in the center. We decided to hop the fence and go ice skating on the top of the pool. We went into her shed and dragged out the ladder and dragged it over to the pool. There was about 4 of us. The oldest being 6 years old. Don’t ask me why my friends mother wasn’t watching us but usually a parents neglect ends up with a drowning kid! Anyway, after getting the ladder next to the pool I climbed up. Me being the most excited wanted to go first. so I put my foot forward and starting pretend skating with my boots on. I got about 6 feet in until I hit a soft spot. My foot went right through and then my body followed. i had so many layers of cloths on. My winter jacket, gloves, scarf , boots and my long stocking hat. the water was freezing and I kept screaming to my friends. the more I kicked the further away the hole in the ice became. eventually I could see my friends blurry through the ice. I became so heavy with all my wet cloths on and I kept screaming and everytime i screamed I was swallowing more water. I was was in so much pain and terror. next, all I remember is not screaming anymore. I felt no pain. It was a calm that came over me. It was lovely. I remember music. music that I never heard before yet seemed so familiar. It was all over. I have no idea how much time had passed then all of a sudden I felt so much pain again. The pain was coming from my chest. I opened my eyes and it seemed like a million people were around me. a man was on top of me punching my chest, water kept coming out of my mouth I was coughing. I had no idea what was happening. I didn’t remember anything at the time. Well, talk about being a lucky kid. or talk about GOD making sure people live under any circumstance. Mrs leszak was home sick from work that day with a bad cold. When I was drowning my friends were banging on her door. She was suppose to be at work that day. Mrs Leszak dove into the freezing water and saved my life. The man next door was a fireman. He was the man pumping my stomach. All these people saved my life. I am so grateful to everyone that kept me alive. My mom took me to the doctor. I didn’t speak for over 2 weeks she said. The doctor told my mom that I was in shock. I would eventually start talking again. Drowning is the most horrific way to die. Till this day I still can not watch Titanic. but everyting that I experienced was very real. I always was a believer in the Lord and I still am. Note to parents. Watch your kids!

  6. Terri says:

    Thank you for this website. My husband and I live in a house with a pool. we were wrapping up a lovely Labor Day BBQ with our daughter and son, three grandkids and a couple of adult friends. Several us were poolside, I was in the pool. The kids were playing, the older 2 know how to swim, the 2 year old learning with his water wings on. I scanned the area, as I always did, and didn’t see the 2year old. I asked his mom and she said he went inside to use the bathroom. Little did we know he never made it inside. Less than 15 feet away from me, he must’ve slipped in and was hidden from our sight by a pool beach ball. A friend saw him, pooled him out, and he was lifeless, eyes glazed, lips blue. I began to administer CPR for what seemed like a very long time (probably seconds, actually) while someone else called 911. A few of us put together pieces of what we remembered from taking CPR years ago, or saw on tv. Thank God, it was enough. a minute before the paramedics arrived, our grandson violently threw up, his color to his lips came back, and he started to cry, but he was still not moving. He was rushed to children’s hospital and for the next 24 hours they treated him, monitored him and checked respiratory and neurological functioning. He was released the next day with a clean bill of health.

    His uncle and I are performed CPR together and worked side by side to save his life. We are both grateful and traumatized. Everyone that was there relives the experience, tried to reconcile our feelings of guilt, and support each other to realize our gratitude and look forward to solutions so that it never happens again. it’s been 2 days and life is standing still. I woke this morning and had a moment of horror thinking my husband was not breathing.

    We went to crisis counseling last night and will continue.

    I am committed to making a difference.

  7. Brittany says:

    I am so glad I found this blog! I am a mother of a drowning accident. My son Cayden just turned three years old when he fell into the pool at it grandmothers house. The accident happened two years ago but it still feels like yesterday ! I want to start a foundation to help fund children who don’t have the financial means to pay for swim classes! We have to come together and make a change. This is a tragic event that can be prevented but too many parents and family members aren’t educated on this issue!

  8. Joy says:

    Thank you for this website. Today I am a mess. I am waiting for a counselor to ring me so while waiting I thought I would look up if there are some out there with a near drowning experience. I read the stories and my tears are just flowing. I had two near drowning experiences.

    The first time was when I was nine years old. We were at a company picnic and there were a lot of people but lunch was just starting so people were getting out of the water. I cannot swim and had no business going where the water was up to my chin but I thought I was okay and that if a wave came I would just jump a bit and I would be fine. A particularly big wave came and knocked me over. I lost my footing and as the wave pulled from the shore I got pulled farther away from the shore and deeper into the sea. I could not touch bottom and I only had occasional breaths while flailing about. I drank a lot of sea water. I remember panic and terror then feeling very tired that I just stopped moving. I remember thinking, “this is it – I’m nine years old and I’m going to die. My mom does not even know where I am.” I remember praying and asking for forgiveness from God for whatever sins I had. I stuck my hand out and occasionally between the waves my tiny, nine year old hand was briefly visible and a lone swimmer saw me. To this day I cannot remember her name. I only know that she was a neighbour’s domestic helper but she grew up by the sea being a fisherman’s daughter and was a strong swimmer. I survived that near drowning and for a long time I would not go swimming.

    Fifteen years later and I thought I really should confront this fear of being in the water and tried to learn how to swim. I was just starting to learn at a friend’s swimming pool but I would only do it at the children’s side of the pool. One day I got a bit confident and I thought I would try to go to the deeper part of the pool but I would just hang on to the rail just to be sure. I was going alright and was not panicking even though I could not touch bottom but then my hands slipped and down I went. Terror hit me and panic set in. Fortunately as I was flailing about a friend’s ten year old kid whom I was swimming with saw me struggling and saved me.

    For years I suppressed my near drowning memories but two weeks ago my best friend’s nephew got taken by a rip current in Budgewoi beach and drowned. While supporting my best friend in her grief and in helping with the funeral arrangements, all my near drowning experiences came back. I can’t sleep and my work has been affected. I can’t stop thinking about it and am unable to stop reliving the whole ‘struggle/panic/terror/helpless’ moments of my near downing.

    I don’t know if this is post traumatic stress disorder but I know I need help. Thank you for this website. It has been a bit cathartic to share my story.

  9. Celine says:

    This is the story of my husband who almost drowned…. it was a very bad experience we couldnt sleep for days, till now the story haunts him he questions him self why was he saved … was God pointing out to some unfinished buesiness he still needed to complete… our life have changed he is not the same, always depressed questionning him self… can you help.

  10. mandy says:

    Just want to say i could never imagine loosing a child . My girls are so so special and i am so sorry for your loss . Dont know why i am looking on these type of sights . I have got to an age when i think life is so short , it is when you get older it goes so much quicker . I lost my mum when i was 14 through drowning i loved her so much we were very close . I think it changed my life for ever , you always cope but you have to but i cant help and wonder what my life would have been if this had never happened . Sorry i am drinking too much lately cant cope with every day life .

  11. Toni Beckman says:

    My name is Toni. I am a 35 year old stay at home mom. Yesterday while
    At a friends pool. My almost 3 year old daughter was sitting on the
    Pool steps. No one saw her go under. My 6 year old son say her at
    The bottom of the pool. He yelled for me. I do. In and
    Grabbed her and got out of the pool. Her face was purplish. Eyes
    Wide open teeth clinched. I laid her down and my best friend n I worked
    On her. We rolled her on her side n smacked her repeatedly
    On the back. I had to pry her mouth open and stick my fingers
    Down her throat to get her to vomit. She did come back around
    And cried. Then said she wanted her Pepsi. Although she seemed fine just
    Tired I took her to the ER. SHe was put on monitors and had a chest
    X-ray. We strayed the night for observation. Right now she is peacefully resting
    At home. I can’t stop watching her. I slept with her all night
    Last night and probably will for a long while to watch her breathe.
    I am having horrible panic attacks and flashes of what happened.
    Unless u have been in this situation u will never know. My feelings are
    Fresh. My heart is broken thinking of the what-ifs. I would not have been
    Able to carry on if she hadn’t made it. I love all of my children so much and am proud
    Of all of them. Will I ever be able to leave Pennelope alone with someone I trust. Will
    These images ever leave me.

  12. AMY says:

    Hello, My name is Amy I’m 22 years old and first I want to thank you for this opportunity to see and write about different experiences of drowning and like you said each and every one’s cases are unique in their way.
    I have a son that is now 2 years old “Angelo” (my only son), in February 7, 2013 I’ve heard and felt what every mother fears most in her life, me and my husbands were both working and that morning I left my son with my mother to watch him until one of us gets off work to pick him up. My mother recently bought the house that has a pool with no fence and for them it was really hard to put any money aside for a fence ( my dad gets paid only $12 an hour and they have 6 kids to support and one child with epilepsy that needs 24/7 attention) my son never went close to the pool before because he was scared, he wasn’t like other kids to jump into something or get on high objects or anything like that, but this time he was pushing a small stroller in the back yard while my mom ran inside to check on the stove and on her younger daughter with epilepsy and Angelo immediately pushed the stroller right into the pool and didn’t have enough time to let go, so he fell in while holding tight to the stroller, he was in for less than 5 min, when my mom saw him, she pulled him out, he had no pulse nor he was breathing, that’s when she called me and said that my son is dying in her arms, I panicked because I love my mom very much and I know she didn’t do anything on purpose, she loves this kid more than her own, so it was a mistake that could of happened to anyone, anytime. So the reason she called me first is because she didn’t speak any English so I had to call 911, I was frightened BUT I knew that there is NOTHING I can do to change that episode, I remained calm and while I was driving to the hospital to see my son that was airlifted all the way in the other side of the town to the best hospital, I started praying,
    ” God, everything in this world happens for a reason, I’m not going to ask you WHY?? all I want from you is to do your plan, YES I remember I asked you in my previous prayers to come in my house and make me a better person but I din’t know that this is how you work, and now God I have no idea if my son is dead or alive but whatever your plan is and however you want to do this I’m going to ask you to please listen to me and give me strength because I can’t do it without You, if your plan is to take him to You, than TAKE HIM, because I know he is going to You. If your plan is for him to live, please heal him COMPLETELY 100% and show your Grace and power to everybody that will hear about this.”
    As hard as it was for me to pray this way, I knew that his life is not on my hands only God could heal him trough the doctors that treated him.
    I get to the hospital and they were putting him on life support because he just got his pulse back (after around 10 min from when he was pulled out of the water) but still wasn’t breathing on his own, there are lots of nurses to check on me if I was okay and Doctors already coming to tell me that they are not sure he will survive, But as soon as I stepped foot in the hospital, I felt something incredible, something powerful, I felt relived, I felt like God is taking care of it and there was nothing else for me to do, I can’t really express the peace in my heart and the joy just like he was already healed and recovered, But it took time, God has His timing and I just had to be patient.
    -For 2 weeks he was in a coma with no food or drinks, just medications and life support. while he was on life support ALL the doctors were telling me; He is going to survive but he will be mentally handicapped or paralyzed or, or or…etc.. one Doc told me they have to make a hole in his stomach where he’s going to be fed and I have to take some classes to learn how to do that. Anyways, I haven’t paid any attention to that because I knew that I gave all my trust in God and He wasn’t going to let that happen.
    -Than we finally got the MRI test done to him and this Doctor came in my room running and with a very happy voice told me; ” YOUR SON HAS NO BRAIN DAMAGE”, that was such a release for me and I knew that GOD is working in mysterious ways already, but the darkness wasn’t over, because Angelo was still unconscious, so this whole battle continued for 5 weeks (my whole stay in the hospital) He eventually woke up and was taken to therapy and improving very little and slow wasn’t eating normal so they put him on a pure diet and thickening jell for the liquids and that’s when I requested to go home with Angelo because he will recover faster in the house he grew up in. Sure enough after I get home, Angelo start walking, eating, drinking normal and he is recovering day by day really fast.
    Today Angelo is a normal kid against Doctor’s statements and reality, he is one of the few people that survived with 100% fully recovery and is now a normal kid.

    As everyone that knows me and heard about this case were shocked to find out Angelo was nearly Dead and he survived, I want you to know that NOTHING IN THIS WORLD IS GOING TO HAPPEN UNLESS GOD ALLOWS IT TO HAPPEN!! He might just want you to step down and let him work on His term on your case, whatever that might be BUT you have to trust him 100% and don’t take any influence in consideration because that’s not allowed in his plan to help you. This could happen to anyone, but not everyone survives and that’s because He allowed it. Life is short, why worry everyday when you have God by your side just waiting for you to give him all your trust and He will deal with it.

    May God Bless you all
    Sincerely Amy

  13. Mazen Jan says:

    Hello to all,

    I found your blog while searching for information about near drowning.

    My 10 yr old son nearly drowned in a swimming pool two days ago and we were fortunate to have several people around who were trained in life saving CPR including myself, which changed the outcome of the incident to a good one.

    He survived with no apparent damage – he was underwater for more than 3 minutes and was not breathing when he was taken out of the water, but luckily his heart was still beating weakly.

    I quickly started airway resuscitation for a few minutes until he started to breath on his own then jumped into a car and took him to a small medical facility where he was given oxygen and first aid until his condition was stabilized enough to be taken by an ambulance to a major hospital for further treatment and observation.

    Although everything turned out well and he is now almost back to normal, Never the less, it was an experience I would never want any parent to go through .. the feeling of helplessness and the site of your son laying lifeless in front of you, not to mention the sounds and feelings related to your attempts to administer CPR and wonder if it’s going to work.

    My main concern now is the mental effect of the accident on my son, even though doctors said he is fine and there is no need for concern, but I am still a bit worried because he does not remember anything about what happened and how it happened – complete amnesia from the afternoon of the day of the accident.

    Should I let it be or try to remind him and refresh his memory?

    What do you think?

    Best regards to all,

    Mazen Jan

  14. Hi my name is Jessica Curtis my husband and eight year old daughter are going through the loss of our 22 month old baby boy Parker. On June 29 2013 we had some landscapers over doing yard work. Please note that we had just bought our home the month before and had a 6 ft fence around the pool had security alarms on the door but had turned them off cause the landscapers were using the pool house although our gate did not have springs to make it self closing we were never informed that we needed them we thought we had done everything safety wise. Parker was taking his afternoon nap and had woken up while I was in the bathroom. The landscapers by then had already left and never told me they had left. When I came out of the bathroom Parker’s door was open so I started looking for him, the Back door was open so I thought he just went outside to play in the sand box then I seem the pool gate open I ran to the pool to find Parker in the pool he then fought for his life for 5 days and was considered brain dead. We donated his organs and they saved 2 baby’s one in Pennsylvania and one in California. Since our tragedy we have started a non profit that is dedicated to drowning prevention and awareness I am deeply passionate about this because I know my son can save more people’s lives if they just listen to his story and learn from him. I just was touched by your story and wanted to share mine it is still a huge battle that I have to face everyday that I won’t be with my son because if something that could have been prevented. Our saying for Parker that we want to get out is NO CHILD IS POOL PROOF! Please share

  15. Chris says:

    Great Blog.

    My name is Chris I’m the Commander of New England Search and Rescue (NESAR).
    We are a water search and recovery team in the Rhode Island area. We are staffed 100% voluntarily and also a non profit.

    We have helped family’s all over the New England are in bringing their loved one home. We never ask for money from the family although if they wish to make a donation we will except it.

    Our fight today is to keep the organization going. We have two boats that were donated to us and our office is located in Pawtucket, RI. Being a 501 (c)(3) we are searching for grants and we don’t qualify for any we looked at. With out money to run our boats and office we are slowly being forced to shut down. My treasure and I have sunk thousands of dollars into the organization and we are now having trouble.

    With that said the reason for this post is I have been their myself. I have had two close calls once when I was 10 years old and the second one then I was 12. It was the same pond when I was 10 I was ice skating on my way home for supper when I skated over some thin ice. It was quick I went under the ice and couldn’t get back out. Luckily the army national guard station was close by and a friend was yelling for help. All I remember is waking up in the Ambulance. To this day I don’t remember any more then that.

    The second time was when I was 12 a group of friends went swimming on a hot day to the pond. I remember telling this one friend to come off of the rock, but it was about 15 ft deep. I didn’t know he didn’t no how to swim. I pulled him off the rock and he jumped on my head. If it wasn’t for my other friend pulling him off me I don’t think I would be here to tell this story.

    At the age of 22 I took several classed to train as a lifeguard, recovery diver along with rescue boat operations. Being 40 years old now I have so much knowledge about the water. I’m a AHA CPR instructor along with collage water awareness. If I can save just one life in my lifetime I think I have done my job. If I could just train one person to save one life I did my job. Well I have and I’m not satisfied yet.

    Please if you read this and you know of anyone who can help us out, just to keep NESAR going please go the the website and look me up. We are here for each and every one of you and we never say NO! We will do our best if a loved one goes missing in the water. Our motto is EVERY ONE COMES HOME!

    Thank you for your time.
    Chris. C. NESAR

  16. terra says:

    my 2 yr old grandson drowned in a friends above ground pool. My daughter takes responsibility for letting him out of her sight for 3minutes. But I dont understand why there are regulations on pools like proper fences,covers, etc. My family has just found out thay drowning is the major cause of death to ages 4 and under. Most of these children would be alive today if regulations and laws were enforced on pool owners.

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