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How did I get here?

“How did I get here?” is a question I quite often ask myself, already knowing the answer.  I got here because life is unfair, because we all have a purpose in this life and God has a purpose for our lives.  Some of us take 100 years and may not ever figure out what our purpose and then others, like my Rory, get it done in 3.

This is what God intended.  As devastating as it is, I know that this was always his Plan.  Oh, you don’t know?

Rory was my fourth and youngest child.  Born July 16, 2013 he came a little early but was still 6 lbs. 15 oz.  As soon as he was born a song came to me to sing to him… it was a strange one but I was lead to sing it to him.  The song was “Unusual Prince” from Sleeping Beauty, a movie I had not seen in over a decade.  It was the only song that soothed him. He was a beautiful child, happy, adventurous, mischievous and always ALWAYS on the go.  That little guy was walking at 9 months but even at 3 had no interest, really, in potty training and only had a limited vocabulary.  Not to say he wasn’t intelligent only that he had a dotting older sister, Lorelei, who talked for him.  In spite of this he had an obsession for firetrucks and Trucks/Tractors with trailers and could name every part on them.  He was the only child that even came close to being a “Momma’s boy”, I was always his first choice and I took pride in that. (All the others quite obviously favored Daddy)

In June of 2016 we decided that we would go on vacation with my best friend and her family, along with 2 other families and their children.  We rented a home in Concan (Texas), a home with a name “The Outlaw View” and it was Beautiful.  When we arrived on August 17, 2016 we unpacked and I saw the pool to which I said “That will be a nightmare” meaning that I was going to be extra anxious keeping him in sight.  As most do in Concan, on Thursday the 18th we all headed out and floated the Frio River.  Rory being the youngest and by far the most active, he got his own yellow dingy instead of a tube.  After 4 hours it looked as if Rory was going to fall asleep because he was so calm (unusual for him) and seemed to be just soaking up the view.

When we got back to the house everyone went swimming in the beautiful pool at the Rental home.  Rory swam (with his life jacket) with the kids until it was time to eat and go to bed.

On Friday we all headed back to the Frio but this time just to play in the water, that float was TOO long!  Rory and the kids had a blast and we enjoyed watching the kids carry Rory around like a prince in his little boat.  When it was time to go home to the rental all the kids piled up in my friend’s car, along with Rory, and my husband and I picked up the tubes etc.  It was my turn to cook so when we got back to the house, I changed and headed upstairs to start dinner, and of course ask “Where is Rory”…..

Only no one knew.

I headed straight to the balcony and looked down into the pool outside….. That is where my nightmare DID happen.

My sweet baby in his blue swimsuit with the little fishes on it was floating in that “beautiful” pool.

We started CPR, a Volunteer Fire fighter showed up first to assist, then the ambulance.

Over 30+ minutes later we arrived at Uvalde Hospital where we first got a heartbeat…. and we were taken by life flight to San Antonio where we stayed until August 23rd when he was pronounced brain-dead.  We agreed to donated his little organs and Rory went on to save other people’s lives.

He was a Miracle, but just not OUR miracle.

THAT is where my new purpose began.  As a Christian I know that I will see him again and that I probably shouldn’t facilitate that meeting, even though every breath I take is my body betraying me. A Mother isn’t supposed to outlive her children, that is what we all say, but millions of us do.  So, from that moment on I decided that if I had to be on this earth without my Sweet boy I was going to make a difference. But HOW?

We started a nonprofit Corporation called Rory the Warrior, Inc.  As a Mother this means that my child’s name will go on being spoken and that is the #1 thing that we care about.  But I started it because I felt led by God and by Rory.

Our Mission at Rory the Warrior, Inc.  is to raise awareness about water safety and to purchase gear and equipment for first responders.  We have created the Hero Bag that is a First Aid kit that contains emergency oxygen that they will carry in their personal vehicles and squad cars.  Oxygen is the #1 thing drowning victims need so we want to put this in the hands of our men and women who respond to our 911 calls.

Every day I mourn my Rory, every morning a reminder that I am not whole….but as long as I am alive I must EARN every breathe I take.

~Sherry-Dawn Sheffield


1 Comment

  • Shanna Jones

    September 7, 2018 at 11:47 am · Reply

    This was a beautiful Blog post Sherry-Dawn. Thank you for sharing your story with us and for honoring Rory’s name by changing the world a little at a time. Our family is very grateful to be small part in y’alls lives. 🙂


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