Bode Miller Shares Name of Son, Says Newborn Is Helping His Family to Heal Following Daughter's Death
By Paige Gawley
Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images
Bode Miller is opening up about his family's tumultuous few months.
The 41-year-old former Olympic skier stopped by Today on Tuesday, where he discussed the October birth of his newborn son and how it has helped his family heal just months after his 19-month-old daughter, Emmy, died in a tragic drowning accident.
"If there's one thing that can kind of help to heal and fill that spot in your heart, it's a baby. And he's a special one," Bode told Today's Savannah Guthrie of his son with wife Morgan Beck Miller. "Besides the lack of sleep, it's been a really nice process to be able to go through."
Bode expressed awe at his 31-year-old wife following the birth, gushing, "We already knew that she was magical, but this was incredible."
After the home birth of their 9.9-pound baby, it was time to name their newborn. The couple finally settled on Easton Vaughn Rek Miller as the name of their son, who was born just one month after Emmy would have turned two.
"We got all kinds of criticism for it, but it's just kind of the way [it happened]," Bode said of waiting to name Easton. "If you go in a hospital, you have to [name the baby]. You can't leave the hospital. But a home birth, you can do whatever you want. All the kids were going to school and everyone was like, 'What's his name?' They were like, 'We don't really have one. We just call him baby brother.' Everyone thought we were just crazy. It took us three weeks, but once we got to know him it was really clear."
"I think we kind of cheated because Von Miller, the football player, seems like such a unique dude, so I think we kind of went off of that," Bode quipped, before revealing that Morgan isn't nuts about the name, including "Rek."
"She's nuts about it not being his name," he joked. "I pushed it through. But I think we have a good compromise system."
While the parents are delighted with little Easton, the grief from the loss of their daughter still lingers.
"There's a blessing to being so busy in a way. Your days go by really slow because there's just a lot a stuff and the kids. That kind of emotional strain is still there," he said. "But then the months just fly by. I think any parent can relate to that. It's unbelievable. It's been six months since we lost Emmy and then, at the same time, seven weeks already for Easton."
"I think we see the path forward a little bit, it's kind of just keeping going and trying to stay positive," he added. "But yeah, it's not easy. I don't think it gets that much easier."
“It’s unbelievable. It’s been 6 months since we lost Emmy — and then at the same time — 7 weeks already for Easton. We see the path forward a little bit.” -@MillerBodepic.twitter.com/uN7bcbfJLk
When the couple sat down with Guthrie back in June, a pregnant Morgan admitted that she was worried about welcoming a new baby into the world after losing one.
"That was my first concern. Besides the fact of never being able to see my daughter again, it was, 'How am I supposed to bring a new baby into this world with just losing my baby?'" a sobbing Morgan said at the time. "Emmy was so excited to be a big sister, she walked around all the time with her baby. Now we have the opportunity to love that baby not only for ourselves, but also for Emmy."
As for Emmy's memory, it's alive and well in the Miller house, which also includes the couple's 3-year-old son, Nash, and Bode's two kids from a previous relationship, Neesyn, 10, and Samuel, 5.
"The kids talk about her all the time, which I think is really good, but obviously hard too," Bode said on Tuesday. "I mean, we have to. She's everywhere in our house. You notice it. You feel the loss, but she's still a part of our family."
“The kids talk about her [Emmy] all the time, which I think is really good but obviously hard too…You feel the loss, but I think it’s just, she’s still a part of our family.” -@MillerBodepic.twitter.com/fL5HPNXgoe
Since the tragic accident in June, Bode and Morgan have dedicated themselves to spreading the word about water safety. The drowning statistics from this summer appear to be less than normal, something that brings the couple some semblance of relief.
"You always hope that what you're doing is [helping]. I think there was some catharsis to it as well," Bode said. "We wanted to try and affect change. I think, while statistics probably won't really reflect the right stuff for years because that's the way statistics work, but we definitely noticed in our area, just the awareness. People were paying attention to it more."
For Bode, his biggest piece of advice to parents is to speak to their child's pediatrician about drowning dangers.
“My call to action was always for people to address it with their pediatricians. I think that’s the missing link that’s the most sort of easy to address. I had never heard about it from a pediatrician.” @MillerBode on raising awareness about children and drowning pic.twitter.com/8llkYmTVCN
"I think that's the missing link that's the most sort of easy to address. I'd never heard about it from a pediatrician and I'd gone to so many wellness visits that it started to be a little bit ridiculous that the number one thing had never been brought up," he said. "... No one wants to be negligent. I don't think we were. It's just one of those things. I think it's more about directing some energy into areas where it can affect change."
“We see the path forward…It’s not easy. I don’t think it gets that much easier.”