Wimberley Flood Survivor Reflects on Loss, Life

"In an instant it was on us, and there was nothing you could do and no way out," McComb said

Memorial Day weekend marks the anniversary of historic flooding that swept across much of Texas, claiming lives and ravaging the region.

One year later, Jonathan McComb still remembers with incredible precision the night his family slipped away in the floods of Wimberley.

"It was sunshine, we were in the river playing, barbecuing, radio playing, girls are laying out in their swim suits," McComb recalled.

Nightfall brought epic rains.

"In an instant it was on us, and there was nothing you could do and no way out," McComb said.

The Blanco River swelled 28 feet in an hour and a half, pulling the family's vacation home, where they were staying with the Carey and Charba families, from its foundation. The house was floating down the river.

"When we hit the bridge, it took the whole second layer off. It was an awful, awful sound," McComb said.

In the chaos, the families got split up. McComb remembers being alone in the cold river and praying.

"I'd been under long enough and I said, 'I'm going home, I know what happened to everybody else and I just, you know, I'm too tired. I have nothing left in me,' so I just went limp underwater," he said.

McComb said he struck a hard object, possibly a rock, and began fighting again and made his way toward shore. A stranger helped him and called an ambulance.

McComb spent several days in the hospital while search crews began looking for the bodies of his family and friends.

"There was always hope, but I knew the second that I wasn't with them, they were gone," he said.

McComb has spent the last year recovering at the family's home in Corpus Christi. His children's drawings and play table are set up just as they were. Their book bags still hang from hooks in the mudroom. Framed memories are everywhere and he has added some, too.

"They were all incredibly unique and beautiful and I miss them," McComb said of his family.

He said his young daughter, Leighton, came to him in a dream one night and brought him a sliver of peace.

"I said, 'What happened?' She said, 'We're OK. We got picked up by a man on the river and it was Jesus.' That was huge for me, hearing that," McComb recalled, choking back tears.

Honoring them, he said, means moving forward. McComb is renovating the master bedroom and bathroom — something he and his wife Laura had planned to do.

"A new start. Unfortunately. It's not replacing anything. It's starting over and beginning again. We are here for a reason. You don't really know what that reason [is]; you just continue to have faith and it will be presented to you at some point," he said.

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