My dad's side of the family was having a family reunion at a natural oasis about 45 minutes outside of Vegas called Warm Springs. It is a natural pond with turtles and fish swimming around in it and is surrounded by palm trees. There is a rope swing, a slide, a cliff to jump from, a diving board...all the best stuff. And, just as the name of it implies, the water is warm. And crystal clear. For me and the rest of the Mitchell-side crazies, this place was too good to be true. TURTLES in the pond? Dude.
The people who bought this place built a mansion next to it and cleared out some ground for a camping area and would rent it out to families. So we camped out and the next morning all the adults started cooking breakfast in the outdoor kitchen. All 8 million of us kids jumped in the pool. Heaven forbid we wait 3o minutes to eat first and THEN swim. So I'm having a grand old time with my awesome floaties on my arms. The adults yell, "Yo, come eat yo breakfast" (or something close to that) and we all hop out and start pigging out.
Here's where it gets bad.
I took off my floaties to eat. And while I was eating I of course had a one-track mind (swimming turtles swinging fishies), so as soon as I'm done I book it on over to the diving board and jump off into the warm water.
That's when it hit me. I was already in the water when I realized that I hadn't put my pink floaties back on.
I remember panicking and opening my eyes under water and seeing the bottom of the pond.
Meanwhile, people are eating and cleaning and jumping and swimming and swinging and diving. And my dad's side of the family is pretty big. It was a zoo. So no one noticed that I had just jumped into the pond floaty-less. And I don't blame them.
A while later my mom is cleaning up the kitchen when she gets a distinct impression to come and look for me. She starts asking around, seeing if anyone has seen me. She starts to panic, as half of the group doesn't know where I am, and the other half is having fun and hasn't noticed.
She runs over to the pond and sees my body at the bottom. She screams and, fully clothed, jumps in and pulls out what she did not know at the time was my lifeless body. My body was blue and and my eyes were dilated--clinical signs of death. The party suddenly got quiet as my mom was screaming for help. My aunt Velinda, an RN, and my brother Charley, who had just learned CPR in scouts, started performing CPR on me. My mom was beside herself. People were gathered all around me. After several minutes of pumping and breathing, miraculously, I came to and started coughing up lots of water, then let out a scream..."I've never heard a more blood-curdling scream" my mom told me.
Everyone packed up and we were on our way home. I was laying down in my family's 15-passenger van and my siblings were all surrounding me and asking me if I knew their names. I did. In fact, I seemed to be just fine.
A couple hours later I was running around the house with my brothers and sisters and cousins. That night I slept in my parents' bed between my mom and dad. My mom says that I woke up early in the morning, sat straight up and said, "I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus and Santa Clause really love me." And then I went back to sleep.
She often wonders if I saw the godhead and thought the Holy Ghost was Santa Clause (long white beard=Santa. Duh.)
My mom couldn't talk about the drowning incident for a while. It was too traumatizing for her. Several months later, she was talking to my aunt Velinda who assisted in saving my life and decided she was ready to talk about it. She asked her what her thoughts were when she was doing CPR. My aunt said that she knew I was dead but did CPR anyway to instill some hope in my mom. She said that there was no doubt in her mind that it was a complete miracle that I was alive and had no brain damage or anything.
Apparently my time on earth wasn't finished.
P.s. I might be a LITTLE brain damaged...