It’s been a little over a month since gold medal-winning Olympic skier Bode Miller and his wife Morgan Beck Miller experienced the ultimate heartbreak for any parent: the death of a child. On June 10, 19-month-old Emeline Miller drowned after wandering away and accidentally falling into a neighbor’s pool the day before.
The grieving parents sat down with NBC’s “Today” co-host Savannah Guthrie for their first interview since losing their daughter. Even in their sadness, the couple told Guthrie they felt a responsibility to talk about what happened.
“It’s an obligation to some degree,” the 40-year-old former Olympic skier answered. “I think it does, in some way, help to heal a little bit. But maybe we’re preventing it from happening to somebody else.”
“We have the choice to live our days with purpose,” Morgan Miller continued. “To make sure that no other parent has to feel what we’re feeling.”
Young Children Are At Higher Risk For Drowning
Sadly, many parents have experienced the same devastating loss as the Millers. According to the United States Consumer Product and Safety Commission, more than 360 children under the age of 15 died from drowning in swimming pools or spas in 2016 and 2017. Of those children, almost 70 percent of the victims were younger than five years old.
Terrible Day ‘Started Like Any Other’
Morgan Miller said the accident that took her daughter’s life started out like any other day. After visiting friends and grandparents earlier in the day, she decided to take the kids next door to visit with neighbors. Just like any other day they visited, the moms chatted and the kids were playing around the house. Emeline went back and forth between rooms, where were “all of 15 feet away,” Miller explained.
Suddenly, though, the noise level in the house changed.
“And, all of the sudden, it was just too quiet for me,” Morgan told Guthrie. “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?’ … I turned around the door that leads to the backyard — that was closed — had this tiny sliver of light coming through the side.”
Within moments, Morgan Miller found her daughter floating in the pool. She jumped in, pulled her little girl’s lifeless body out of the pool and began CPR. An ambulance was called and Emeline was transported to hospital.
Initially, doctors told Bode and Morgan that their little girl might make it. Unfortunately, though, the lack of oxygen to her brain caused too much damage. Emeline died at 6:30 p.m. on June 10.
You can watch the full interview with the Millers on NBC’s “Today”:
“She brought so much to our lives.”
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 30, 2018
Now, the family is working together to keep Emeline’s memory alive and to help promote the importance of water safety for children.
“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.”
Bode Miller also believes it’s important for parents to always keep in mind the importance of responsibility to their children’s lives.
“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.”
The Millers have a son, Nash, who is 3, and Bode Miller has two children, Neesyn, 5, and Samuel, 10, from a previous relationship. Morgan Miller is currently pregnant with the couple’s fifth child.