Olympic alpine skier Bode Miller and his wife Morgan Beck Miller opened up for the first time about the unimaginable accident that lead to the death of their 19-month-old daughter Emeline Grier last month during an emotional appearance on Today, Monday.
“It was a normal day,” Morgan explained to Savannah Guthrie in the couple’s first televised interview since Emeline drowned in June.
After spending part of the day at a birthday party, Morgan, 31, told Guthrie she took the couple’s three younger children to a neighbor’s house while Bode, 40, went to his older daughter Neesyn’s softball game.
As Morgan was chatting and enjoying a tea, she recalled Emeline walking between where the mom was sitting and the guest bedroom, where the other kids were playing — “which was all of 15 feet,” she noted.
“And, all of the sudden, it was just too quiet for me,” Morgan said. “We were mid-conversation, and I just stood up, and I turned, and I walked right to where the boys were, and I said, ‘Where’s Emmy?’ And before Nate could respond, I turned around the door that leads to the backyard — that was closed — had this tiny sliver of light coming through the side.”
She recalled, fighting back tears, “And my heart sank, and I opened the door, and she was floating in the pool. And I ran, and I jumped in.”
Emeline drowned around 6:30 p.m. in Coto de Caza, California, on June 9.
Bode told Guthrie he listened to the tragic events unfold through the phone — “just in shock,” he said — as CPR was performed and emergency responders from the Orange County Fire Department arrived. Emeline was unable to be resuscitated, and she died the next day, June 10.
“Guilt is the most difficult thing,” Morgan told Today. “I hope and pray and beg that it gets easier.”
The Millers want to turn their heartbreak into action. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t pray for the opportunity to go back to that day and make it different,” Morgan said. “But now we have this opportunity to make other parents’ days different.”
They also want other parents to know the importance of practicing water safety — a topic they have always taken seriously. In fact, the Millers taught Emeline’s brothers to swim before she was born, and have always had a fence around their pool.
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“The reality is as a parent you can’t dodge responsibility with your kids,” Bode said. “That part is probably the single most difficult part to get over.”
In the wake of losing Emeline, the Millers, who married in 2012, are focusing their attention on their three other children — their son Nash Skan, 3, and Bode’s children from previous relationships, son Samuel, 5, and daughter Neesyn, 10 — and their new baby on the way.
The couple announced that they were expecting a baby just two months before Emeline’s death.
“That was my first concern, beside the fact of never being able to see my daughter again,” Morgan said. “How am I supposed to bring a new baby into this world with just losing my baby? Emmy was so excited to be a big sister… Now we have the opportunity to love that baby not only for ourselves but for Emmy.”