TIPTON, Ind. – An Indiana mother thought she had lost her young son when she saw his lifeless body floating facedown in a pool that was filled with adults. Now, she’s telling other parents how important it is to be vigilant.
“My son drowned 3 days ago,” Maribeth Leeson wrote in a July 23 Facebook post. “His limp, gray, lifeless body was pulled from the pool and it was every mother’s worst nightmare. He was dead. I heard screaming, and after a minute realized the screaming was coming from me. I watched in slow motion as people rushed to him, as he was laid on the concrete, as CPR was started.”
Leeson described the scene as a nightmare, wondering what she would say to her other children and her husband as she watched people begin to take emergency, live-saving measures on the 5-year-old boy.
Leeson’s friend Kristin Moon is tagged in the post and credited by Leeson with saving the boy’s life using CPR.
“A million thoughts continued racing through my mind. I was sure even if he was saved, it was too late. I was sure machines were going to be doing his living for him. I was sure it had taken too long,” she wrote.
But, according to the post, after a few days in the hospital, Leeson was able to bring her son home, “3 days after drowning, (he will come) home to live happily with his family instead of us burying him today.”
Leeson’s post went further, explaining why she chose to share such a dramatic and traumatizing story.
“This happened in a pool full of people. A pool full of ADULTS. I’ve read so many stories about kids slipping away from their parents and getting into a pool, to be found drowned shortly later. I’ve never considered the possibility that my child could drown right in front of people who were watching him bob up and down from the bottom of the pool to just below the surface, but didn’t think he was struggling because he looked like he was PLAYING,” she wrote.
According to the post, Leeson herself didn’t recognize that her son had drowned at first. She said she saw a child face down and thought he was just holding his breath – until she realized it was her son, and he doesn’t know how to hold his breath.
Leeson also said her son remembered what happened before he went under.
“He said he kept going to the bottom then to the top and tried to yell ‘Mommy!’ It kills me to hear that. It kills me to know that his last thoughts were that mommy didn’t come for him,” she wrote.
She said in the post that aside from a newfound anxiety, her son doesn’t seem to be facing any consequences of drowning.
Now, she has advice for parents who bring their children near pools or other bodies of water: make sure kids don’t get into the water until the adult responsible for them is watching them, know the signs of struggle and learn CPR.
“This was 100% preventable. The fault was MINE,” she said.