"Every time I close my eyes at night to go to sleep, it replays in my head," Morgan Miller says of the moment she found her daughter Emeline in the pool
The events of June 9 and 10 are still tragically fresh in Morgan Miller‘s mind.
Joined by fellow mom Nicole Hughes — whose 3-year-old son Levi drowned the same day as the couple’s 19-month-old daughter Emeline Grier — the wife of Olympian Bode Miller accompanied her husband for a new interview with CBS News, where they opened up about their lives since Emeline’s death.
“When I opened the door and she was floating face down in the pool … ” Morgan, 31, recalled through tears of the moment she found Emeline following the toddler’s disappearance at a friend’s house.
“Every time I close my eyes at night to go to sleep, it replays in my head,” she reveals. “But it happens so fast.”
Emeline drowned around 6:30 p.m. in Coto de Caza, California, on June 9, shortly before CPR was performed and emergency responders from the Orange County Fire Department arrived. The little girl died the next day after she was unable to be resuscitated.
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Bode explains that part of their journey has been “removing the stigma” surrounding the loss of a child, to make it easier to have an “open conversation” not only with each other but with others who have experienced similar tragedies.
“We have people come up to us [where] it’s really hard [for them] to address [us]. They don’t know what to say, they don’t want to cause you more pain and they don’t want to dodge around the subject,” says the Olympic alpine skier, “but the fact is, breaking that stigma and making it a conversation that you can have with parents who have, unfortunately, experienced it firsthand is one of those really important steps.”
“It’s an open conversation where you know that laughing and joking doesn’t mean it’s gone … it’s just part of our lives now,” Bode explains.
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Bode says that since the incident, he and his wife have been dedicated to spreading awareness of water safety — and helping others realize that drownings often do not occur during dedicated swimming times.
To that end, the 40-year-old athlete and Morgan are not only instilling aquatic skills in their 3-year-old son Nash Skan, but encouraging their loved ones to do the same with their children.
“Not just our kids but our friends have brought their kids over, and we’ve been attacking it as a group,” he tells CBS News. “It’s been really eye-opening to see.”