About Brie's Passing
On June 23, 2013, Briseias "Brie" passed away from an accidental drowning in our pool. That was the worst day of our lives. That's the day our hearts stopped beating.
I've never shared with anyone, except my husband, what happened that day. It was too painful to talk about it. Now, five years later, I've decided to share that day with all of you to spread awareness about the importance of pool fences and self-rescue swim lessons. In doing so, and with your help, I hope together we can save another family from having to go through this nightmare of losing a child to drowning.
That day my husband was out of state working. I was home with Brie, who was 3 years old, and my 9 year-old nephew. We had bought that pool house a couple years earlier, when Brie was 1 years old. The pool did not have a pool fence. Back then we did not know the importance of a pool fence with automatic self-locking gates. I don't recall anyone recommending we install a pool fence. Having grown up in Puerto Rico, we had never been around a pool fence and did not know anyone who had one in their pool. We had enrolled Brie in regular swimming classes (not self-rescue classes) and she had successfully completed them. However, those classes did not teach survival swimming. She was not taught how to float or how to swim fully dressed. I wish I had known about Infant Self-Rescue back then. Perhaps if she had taken the ISR lessons, instead of regular swimming classes, she might be alive today.
We were playing in the pool and we got out and went inside the house because I had to bottle feed my 6 month old son, Josiah. I took out her bathing suit and put on her clothes. When my son finished his bottle a few minutes later, I could not find Brie. She had sneaked out of the house and into the pool. I had to jump in the pool to rescue her. I called 911 and started performing CPR but it was too late.
Those images will stay with me and will haunt me forever. To this day, I don't know how she opened the door, why she went back to the pool area or how she fell on the pool. But if we had a pool fence with a self-locking mechanism or if Brie had learned self-rescue swimming, she would probably be here with us today.
The meaning behind our name
Living in Honor of our Little Angel Briseias
Since our 3 year-old daughter, Briseias ("Brie") drowned on June 23, 2013, we searched for years for a reason to keep living. With time, we found a way of life that allowed us to stay connected with her. With a few friends, we started running in her honor as part of Team Brie. Although we have always been athletic, we have never been runners. In an effort to challenge ourselves physically and mentally, we signed up for the Disney Marathon. This was a major challenge for us as we had never run any races, not even a 5k. We trained hard for about 4-5 months.
On January 9, 2017, after about 6 hours of running, we felt invinsible as we crossed Disney's finish line on mile 26.2. We felt as if we could do anything in life. That day we made a conscious decision of living every day of our lives in honor of Brie. Doing this gave us a sense of purpose. It gave us the strength to get out of bed every morning.
We created "Live for Brie" for two reasons. First, as a way to honor "Brie" through our efforts to prevent more innocent children from accidentally drowning. Second, we hope to inspire other families who have lost a child to find their own ways of living in honor of their little angel.