I will first start by saying that I in no way have any new, factual information about this incident. And I am not reporting in any way the condition of the victims.
My attention was brought to a news story today by a friend of the couple. An engaged couple from Georgia were vacationing at Clearwater Beach. They chose to embark on a parasailing trip in tandem. Then tragedy struck. A storm was blowing in, and the cord that tethered them to the boat snapped. Luckily S was able to detach himself from his harness. He dropped 60 feet into shallow water, but only sustained minor injuries. He was able to swim to shore. His fiance wasn’t so lucky. She was unable to release herself from the parachute and was dragged through the water and up on to the beach where she smacked into several umbrellas, beach goers and finally a 4×4 wooden beach volleyball net pole. She was wrapped around the pole then fell into the sand. Last I heard, she was still in critical condition.
My heart breaks because I can’t help thinking about the less factual, less newsworthy part of this story. What was going through their minds? Fear, no doubt. While he fell, were his thoughts consumed with her? When they realized they were in danger, did they exchange I love yous and promise to survive? Did they even know the gravity of the situation until it was over? As she was dragged, did she know it wouldn’t end well? I feel like when something like this happens, it happens so quickly that one may not even realize what’s happening. I mean, seeing the pictures, it doesn’t even look like the people on the beach realized the danger involved until the woman was literally being dragged through the sand before them.
I keep having to swallow the overwhelming lump that forms in my throat when I think about this tragedy. It was supposed to be something fun. They were on vacation. It was something that can actually be pin pointed to one single decision. And then the “what if’s” start. What if they decided to get ice cream instead? I worry about the girl. I worry about her fiance. I worry about the family and friends of them both. And my heart just breaks. I couldn’t imagine ever facing something like this. I’m usually the overprotective, overly cautious “mom” of the group when we all travel together. I’m always just afraid of what could possibly happen. And although I’m fully aware that you’re supposed to actually live life and not fear it, I am just always afraid of losing the ones I love.
These people are complete strangers to me, and yet I’m so consumed with it that I cry when I think about it. I’ve prayed so much for these people, and I feel like I’m grasping onto all hope that this can some day be a story they tell their children and grandchildren, both in good health. I wonder when their wedding date is. I wonder about her wedding dress and her family and all those tiny little details that people who watch the news forget to think about. But mostly? I think about them, and I pray so hard that this will all end with a reminder of how good God is. So I ask you, no matter who or what you believe in, to keep this young couple in your thoughts and prayers. Give them and their families and friends the strength they need to get through this.
You can find the news story here.