The death of a child is something that creates immeasurable grief for parents. It’s something some people can never heal from.
But Olympic skiing champion Bode Miller and his wife Morgan Beck Miller have found a little light since their daughter tragically died.
Their 19-month-old daughter Emeline died on June 20 after she fell into a neighbor’s pool in Southern California and drown.
“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t pray for the opportunity to go back to that day and make it different. But now we have this opportunity to make other parents’ days different,” Morgan told Today.
The Millers decided to go public with their grief to make parents alert to how quickly small children can drown and how often it happens.
There were more than 3,536 non-boating related drowning deaths in the U.S. between 2005 and 2014, or about 10 per day.
One in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries,” the CDC writes.
“More than 50% of drowning victims treated in emergency departments (EDs) require hospitalization or transfer for further care (compared with a hospitalization rate of about 6% for all unintentional injuries). These nonfatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g., permanent vegetative state).“
And all it takes is a “blink of an eye” for these situations to occur, according to Miller.
“We’re in mid-conversation and I stood up,” Morgan recalled. “And I turned and I went right to where the boys were and I said, ‘Where’s Emmy?’ Before Nate [their son] could respond, I turned around and the door that leads to the backyard, that was closed, had this tiny sliver of light coming through the side.
“And my heart sank and I opened the door and she was floating in the pool. And I ran and I jumped in.”
The family started CPR and they called 911.
They thought their daughter was going to survive but her brain was without oxygen for too long.
While the family was deeply in sorrow they found joy in the birth of a son four months later.
But Morgan saw something that made her know that their daughter was still close by when she looked at her youngest child’s ultrasound.
She believes she saw the face of an angel in the ultrasound which she believed to be Emeline.
“I saw my sweet baby’s face. He looked so much like my other babies: just like Bode with that sweet nose and those full lips. But as quickly as I saw this new baby, my eyes moved to the angel lying to the right of his face, holding him, arms around his neck,” Morgan wrote. “Almost as if to say, ‘It’s okay. I’m here. It’s going to be okay. I love you.’ I hold onto this picture as a clear sign that my son knows his sister. That my baby girl Emmy is still with us. And now that our sweet baby boy is here earth side, he now holds her.”
You can see Morgan’s Instagram post below.
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When we walked out of the hospital without our Emmy, despair and uncertainty surrounded us. The parting words from the medical staff, in those early hours after we lost our baby Emmy, was to check on the baby in my tummy. So, 5 days after losing her, I reluctantly had the ultrasound tech come check on the baby growing in my belly. To step into my future without my daughter felt like a dagger to my heart. How can life change so quickly? During the last ultrasound, my baby Emmy lay in my arms wondering what she was looking at on the screen. And, now, she was gone. This time, I asked the tech to be quick. She asked if I wanted a 3D image to which I replied, “no.” She swiftly maneuvered the wand around my stomach, checking on all parts. As she viewed the baby’s profile, she told me, “I know you don’t want a 3D image but this is a perfect angle and I feel like I need to do one. I will be quick.” As the screen switched over to 3D imaging, I saw my sweet baby’s face. He looked so much like my other babies: just like Bode with that sweet nose and those full lips. But as quickly as I saw this new baby, my eyes moved to the angel lying to the right of his face, holding him, arms around his neck. Almost as if to say, “It’s okay. I’m here. It’s going to be okay. I love you.” I hold onto this picture as a clear sign that my son knows his sister. That my baby girl Emmy is still with us. And now that our sweet baby boy is here earth side, he now holds her.