I will never forget the sound of my voice, screaming for help! It was the most blood curdling, ear splitting screech of a scream I have ever voiced. And no one heard me, or no one believed me.
On Sunday, June 28, 2015, my cousin Elijah drowned in my grandparent's pool in Florida. He was a man in his young twenties, and he was just floating in the pool, swaying side to side as he drifted to the bottom of the deep end. We were the only one's in the pool, along with my son, niece, and nephew, none more than 5 yrs of age. I acted as quick as I could, yelled to my son and nephew to go get help. They thought I was joking and just laughed. It's not their fault, they're five.
I dove down and got hold of Elijah, and struggled mightily to get him to the surface. Make no mistake, a body that has ingested all that water is not light. It took everything I had to get him to the surface and keep his head above water. He was in the midst of a seizure as I held him, trying to swim us both from the deep end to a part of the pool where I could stand and get him out of the water. I screamed for help, over and over and over again. No one came, no one heard me, or believed me.
I kept screaming and screaming, HELP, HELP, HELP, and finally my Aunt saw me flailing my arms through the glass sliding doors and realized that I was in need of help. The rest of the family finally came and helped me get Elijah out of the water and start life saving measures. God bless my sister in law (who is an RN), my brother in law, my wife and Elijah's father. They did CPR, they extruded most of the fluid Elijah swallowed and got a pulse back before the medics arrived. They did all they could, but Elijah did not make it.
We lost him that day and all that keeps going through my head is how did no one hear me yell for help? Or why did people not believe that my yell was for real? Could I have done something differently, said a different word, or who knows what? Who in their right mind would yell for help and not mean it? Just as our society understands that NO MEANS NO, we need to start the grassroots campaign towards HELP MEANS HELP.
Please do your part and pass along this message. Make sure that you teach your kids that if someone is yelling for help, that they should get it. Adults - don't assume people are joking, react and assist, or at least get someone else who can if you are unable. And NEVER EVER joke around with the use of this word; you never know, it could cost you your life. I hope that is not what happened to my cousin, but I can't help but wonder if someone would have reacted sooner or heard me sooner, would we have been able to save him and still have him with us.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Elijah's parents with funeral expenses. If you'd like to make a contribution please click here. Thanks.