Sunday, June 12, 2011

And Like That, He's Gone

Saturday, May 21, 2011: approximately 1:00 a.m.

The sky is clear as a late evening becomes an early morning. The moonlight reflects off the calm lake water, bathing the shoreline in a soft glow. As the hours tick by those gathered slowly trickle away, and a fire once well fed burns low. A deck made of plastic and steel pushes out into the water. Similar fixtures jut out from many of the houses that push up against the lake, allowing residents to swim or dock boats. Two of my friends stand on the nearest dock and listen to the fish jump. As others joke about how cold the water must be, I am captured by a thought. I slip quietly away. The chairs once warmed by the neighbors have long since grown cold. I press out onto the dock that stretches out here. I smirk silently as I strip down. It is better that my clothes remain dry. A ladder on my left has no doubt seen many swimmers climb its steps back onto the dock. The water line is perhaps a foot or more below the dock, but I estimate that still leaves me four feet of depth or so. Easy enough. I started swim team at an age when all the kids are still dog paddling, and it wasn't until quite a few years later that I moved on to other sports.

As I had so many times before, I dove with hands outstretched. As I broke the surface of the water, my past life was stripped away. I felt a sharp shock to my neck, followed by no pain at all. In times of extreme stress our brains are capable of astonishing things. Under the water, in a place where I should have seen nothing at all, I saw myself. In my vision I floated face down below the surface, pale skin illuminated by the moonlight, my hair floating freely. My mind churned... gotta swim up... my arms will not move, my legs will not move... this is it... I am going to die...

Two of the girls came over to investigate the splash, and found me floating face down. They told me to stop messing around. I could only slip farther away, disappearing below the water. The guys commented on how large a fish it must have taken to make such a big splash. This lasted until they were called over. When they pulled me out I had been underwater for two or three minutes. The police were close by and arrived quickly, and an ambulance soon followed. Eight hours of surgery later, and many more spent unconscious, I woke up in the intensive care unit.


  1. Craig I cannot imagine going through something like this. You're strong and will pull through stronger than ever. We're thinking of you and praying for you as you rebuild your life in a new way. Hang in there.

    Your cousin, Michelle and family

  2. Craig, Your story, written in your own words, seriously touched my heart and soul. You most certainly have your moms gift of writing. You are showing great strength, not only in body but in mind as well. God is moving through you and all around you. My prayers continue, for not only all of your needs, but also the needs of your mom and dad. I look forward to following your journey through your new life. Through Christ, all things are possible! You will achieve your goals and your hearts desires, I have no doubt! Much love and deep respect, Aunt Vicki <3

  3. Craig, thank you so much for taking on this blog project. It will touch so many people (you'll probably never know how many and in what ways) and it will indeed be a way for you to work through your journey, sort things out, and even remember, in six months time, where you were at right at this moment. You are a gifted writer and whatever you share will enlighten others. I do hope you find the energy for it with all the other things on your plate, something it's hard to imagine in concrete terms until you've had an on-site glimpse: all the PT, OT, meetings, etc.

  4. Craig, your description of the accident touched us deeply. I think the BLOG is a wonderful way for you to work through the healing process. I did a BLOG in graduate school, I had the most fun with it, and we look forward to future entries.

    Additionally, your work (i.e. IEC Fusion) sounds very fascinating. Deane was reading about the research project on the UW Madison website, we would love to hear more about it someday. Take care, remember one day at a time, and we both send lots of love your way.

    Hugs……xxoxox Lori and Deane

  5. Craig,
    Your blog entries touch us deeply. Your willingness to share your feelings and experience with us shows a courage that few people would be able to muster. You have a brilliant mind and are a gifted writer. We love you and continue to pray for healing, strength, peace and guidance for you and your parents.
    Uncle RJ & Aunt Joanna

  6. Dear Craig:
    I really admire your courage. The way you have described the event says a lot about your tremendous inner strength. Hang in there.

    The GPS device that you helped build (at TTU) is still working well and guess what? The paper based on results of sag obtained by Mahesh from that device has been accepted in the prestigious IEEE Transactions.

    Happy Birthday and best wishes!