Near Death on the river

July 30, 2008

Hey everyone, it has been quite a while since I have posted.  It has been somewhat intentional, I needed a bloggin break.  But we had something life changing happen a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to share it with you.  Early Saturday morning July 12th we made preparations to canoe from St. George to the Wamego drop off on the Kansas River.  It is a trip we have made about 25 times and always a lot of fun.  Typically the river isn’t very deep and if we do take an overturn we stand up and gather our stuff and continue down river.  We had Greg in the front of the canoe and me in the rear with Kennedy following behind in an inflatible seated ring.  As we pushed off from St. George the river quickly took us to the middle and turned us sideways.  We had only been on the water about 30 seconds when we overturned.  Our posessions quickly floated down stream and Kennedy grabbed most of the food and quickly put it in her ring.  I was able to grab the paddles as they floated by me and I started to push the canoe toward the shore.  Kennedy was swimming along side her ring but then I realized that Greg was no where in sight.  Momentarily he emerged from under water and was able to grab onto Kennedys floating ring.  He was coughing and had an incredible grey complexion that I was not used to seeing on a living body.  Kennedy and I were able to push the canoe to the bank with Greg clinging on the ring and help him get to the bank.  He was not able to catch his breath and I realized that he had been under the whole time I was retrieving our floating items.  Due to the speed of the river I had to swim for a couple minutes to gather stuff so I am really unsure of how long he was under water.  The realization was hitting, Greg had almost drown and we weren’t out of the water yet.  The flooding that had occured in Nebraska  over the previous months had changed the make up of the river.  The cut of the river was a lot deeper and even though we were at the shore it was too steep for me to get Greg out and he was not able to do it on his own.  So we clung to a tree that had fallen int he river and rested.  About 45 minutes later Greg was finally strong enough to join Kennedy on the shore.  We tied off the canoe and I swam back up the river, which was no easy task even though I am a strong swimmer.  I travelled back down the river until I came upon Kennedy and Greg and we were able to walk out back to the landing.   I will write a little more tomorrow talking about what we have learned and the positive outcomes of this brush with death.

I really love you,




  1. I guess we should know… the river is NOT to be taken lightly. Our son-in-law died in the canoe accident in Topeka last summer. We can only say that we have seen Christ in a whole new way–and understanding life and death in a whole new way. The words of a song bring this home to us as well…


    No guilt in life, no fear in death
    This is the power of Christ in me
    From life’s first cry to final breath
    Jesus commands my destiny
    No power of hell, no scheme of man
    Can ever pluck me from His hand
    ‘Till He returns or calls me home
    Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand


  2. Ed, I am so sorry for your loss. Many years ago we lost our brother-in-law Tom Jackson on the Osage River south of Topeka. He and my sister Dawn were portaging around some rapids when a canoe traveling behind them tried to make the rapids. They struggled and Tom went in to help them and all three perished. So it was with that always in the back of our minds that we canoe. Yet we almost had a tragedy. Thank you for writing, I know it must be hard, and for sharing that song, how powerful.

    With Christ’s love,

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