Elephant in the room… What happened that day.

This entry starts with the Pennsylvania state police returning my security camera PC October 21, 2014. The recordings of which contain the last moments Caleb Andrew Dubas spent on this earth. Though I saw glimpses of what happened that night while reviewing the security footage with the state police before handing over my PC, I still had unanswered questions and needed more details. For seven days without my security footage, I wondered and agonized over the details recorded that day. The main question being, who or how was the door left open??? How did this happen when we are so obsessive with Caleb and where he is?

As parents, we try our very best to protect our children. Though we can’t save them from everything, we try. So the task of understanding what went wrong that day was something I was obsessing over. I knew the answers were on that computer and I really wanted it back badly. The police told me it would only take a day or two at most and I would get it right back so I reluctantly handed my PC over at the time; but after a few days went by, I began to worry and regret doing so. I reached out to the officer by phone and email several times with no response. I was beginning to think after six days that they lied to me and it would be months or more. Would I really have to wait months for answers? I already had a pit in my stomach over this so when the officer finally responded to my email, apologizing for the delay because of other events that happened during his week, I was relieved when he told me he would be returning my PC then next day October 21, 2014.

That next day would come and the officer called me in the afternoon of the 21st to confirm someone would be home to receive the PC. I assured him yes, someone would be there even though I was not home at the time. I explained to Tiffany the day prior that the police would be dropping off the PC  and someone needed to be home. I was OK with Tiffany receiving the PC however I wanted to be there and thank the officer and make sure it was OK with my own two eyes.  The officer eventually arrived and I couldn’t be more excited to see the police with my computer in hand at my front door. He handed me the computer and it felt like Christmas for a split second but the gravity of what it contained brought my emotions back in check. I set the computer down at my feet and I eagerly signed the paper stating I received it back. A quick “Thank you, I really appreciate it.” and the officer was on his way. As I closed the door, I looked down and to my left and stared at the PC. Even though my anticipation was building, it was also met with deep concern and some apprehension. I knew what was on there and it wasn’t all good. The footage I needed to see for answers, but was afraid to examine at the same time because I did not want to re-live this event over and over. It wasn’t easy. None of this is but I had to do it.

As much as I wanted to drop what I was doing and hook it right up, we had guests and I did not want to be rude and disappear. The anticipation was somewhat intoxicating in a sense because I could not stop thinking about it.  It got to a point where I couldn’t wait any longer. My emotions were consuming me and my desire to know outweighed courtesy.  Sneaking away became easy to meet the answers that I hoped were on that computer. The raw emotion as I connected each cable back in place was intense .From the mouse, keyboard, network cable, and finally the power cable. Every motion built on the next to the final pressing of the power button with anticipation. Starting that computer, my only thoughts were, “Please start, please start.”

My immediate concern was making sure the video data from that day was still intact and not damaged while in police custody. The computer thankfully booted perfectly. Before starting the security software however, I copied off the raw data files to a network location to prevent them being overwritten by new event recordings from the cameras even though they’re not set to do so. I wasn’t taking any chances. I wanted to preserve Caleb’s last moments on this earth and find further understanding of what went wrong. I had to know more. My next task was locating the export files with the date October 14, 2014. I quickly found them and started watching without hesitation. My focus was intense. I leaned in toward the screen so I could see better and started with the front door footage naturally because this was the last place Caleb was seen alive at 5:21 PM on camera.  I knew this because the night I sat and briefly reviewed the footage with the police while looking for quick answers.

Starting from 4:00 PM file, there was plenty of activity on the camera from Isaiah and Josiah to chickens walking in the front yard. Each motion event ended with the front door being closed. That was my focus. Was the door closed and when did it open or was it left open or was it closed and not latched all the way. The next event I witnessed was my wife Tiffany arriving home with groceries. The kids following her like little ducks however with grocery bags in tow. We do not normally bring groceries in through the front door so my first thoughts were I would soon be witnessing where my misery would begin but this was not the case. The door was shut behind them.

As I continued the footage, at 4:38 PM the next motion event was captured with my wife coming out to the front porch with Elijah,Josiah, Isaiah and Caleb behind. I could not help but notice the front door left wide open as they were all on the front porch. My wife made adjustments to the wooden chair on the porch and then sat down on the edge of our front porch on the concrete with her feet on the earth in front of her. It was 76 degrees outside. Quite balmy and a beautiful fall day. Caleb and the other kids seem to play and Caleb sat next to my wife for a few minutes. My 12 year old Elijah moved to the side of the house with the pond and trampoline out of camera view. At some point as the other kids left to the same side of the house to play, Caleb got up and walked off in that direction with the other kids. My wife was then alone on the porch.

Tiffany then stood up and looked to make sure Caleb was OK in the direction where Elijah was and it seemed and I tried to read her lips as she said something to Elijah who was over in that direction as well and out of view of the security camera. Elijah is a great caretaker and watches Caleb well. We trust him. My parents were coming over for dinner and to celebrate my wife’s birthday a day early as we would not be home on her birthday because we planned on being at church like usual on a Wednesday night. My wife was making tacos and asked for help around the house to straighten up. After Tiffany spoke to Elijah and was at peace that Caleb was being looked after, she went back inside to the kitchen. What I could not help but notice is that the front door was still wide open.

Still not sure if this is what happened, my emotions were swelling that this could be it. My wife re-entered the house around 4:48 PM. I thought to myself, it’s 76 degrees out and Caleb was already outside. If she knew Caleb was outside, there would be no need to shut the door on him. If Caleb is inside every door remains a fortress and Caleb was with the other kids. All the other motion events at the doors were normal all day except this one as Caleb was already outside. Even all the other kids closed doors after entering throughout the day as Caleb was in the house. This is our normal procedure. Knowing Caleb was last seen alone at 5:21 PM on the front porch and the front porch was completely empty at 4:48 PM, I had to know more. On the night this happened and I was sitting with police reviewing footage, things were moving quickly and I initially only saw the door open and Caleb last seen on the front porch at 5:21 PM. I did not see the proceeding events of who opened the door and that Caleb walked off with the other kids earlier. Naturally, I did not have enough data because I know Caleb left the porch earlier and no footage showed him come back or at least I thought so.

I quickly turned to the back porch footage where I know there had to be more details because when Elijah found Caleb in the pond at 5:39 PM he came out the back door outside our living room. I started to understand what happened but needed to confirm so I intently watched the footage. At 4:57 PM or there about, I saw the other kids come in and Elijah carrying Caleb back into the house and going inside the kitchen door instead. There are two back doors on the main house only a few feet away. The kitchen has a door and so does the living room that open themselves to the back porch. The living room has a double french style type door. Elijah entered the kitchen door where my wife was still preparing dinner. The camera clearly showed this as I could see Tiffany in the footage in the kitchen. The kitchen door has a storm door so it naturally shut behind him. Elijah stood there holding Caleb in the kitchen and seemingly eventually set him down. This was about the 5:00 PM hour.

Watching this, it became exceedingly clear what happened. I went back to the front porch footage with the knowledge that Caleb was brought back into the house so it was not possible my initial understanding was correct. The footage on the front porch shows Caleb on the front porch by himself at around 5:15 PM. Keep in mind that my security cameras are set to only record motion so sometimes footage can be choppy. I initially never saw Caleb come back to the front porch in the earlier footage from where he left earlier when he first left with the other kids to play but I knew he was last seen alone on the front porch at 5:21 PM.

It was then all the pieces fell together. The kids left to go outside from our front door, my wife was out there and when she went back in, had no reason to shut the door on her other kids and including Caleb when it is 76 degrees outside. They would soon be back in as it was close to dinner. I know it can be habit to shut the door always but not in this case. I understand. A lot is going on in our house always and my parents were coming and it’s 76 degrees and the kids are already outside. My wife knew Caleb was safe with Elijah and the other kids. He always is. What went horribly wrong is that instead of the kids re-entering the front door where they came from and would have shut the door behind them, they came back in through the kitchen back door where my wife was. Elijah was taking Caleb back to my wife. Handing off responsibility, a “changing of the guard” if you will. My wife never left the kitchen, she was making dinner. Because it was windy on October 14th, a towel hanging on the wash line kept the motion camera recording. The next main footage on the back door was Elijah exiting the living room door turning toward the pond and seeing Caleb face down in the pond. He ran obviously screaming and my wife ran from the kitchen with blood curdling screams. I was in the living room as well cleaning Nutella out of the carpet. I smashed through the screen door knocking it off its tracks to meet my wife who was clearly distraught.

Though I won’t be detailing my rescue attempt and the horror that follows, It was all crystal clear how this happened. Caleb left the kitchen while my wife was preparing dinner like he normally would as he is free to roam in the house. The house to us is the safest place for him. What no one else thought or could put the pieces together was that the front door was still wide open. My wife was distracted with dinner. We were all distracted. Caleb took the invitation of a wide open door at 5:15 PM where he spent a full six minutes playing on the front porch because he absolutely loves the outdoors and was last seen walking off the porch in the direction of the pond at 5:21 PM. This is the last time we would see him alive. Watching these events all over did not make it any easier however I understand now how it happened. I can tell myself a hundred times, if we only had a storm door, fence around the pond or any other number of security devices, I am quickly reminded that parents or those who are in charge of protecting the innocent have to be perfect 100% of the time. It only takes one misstep and tragedy can strike in a moment.

I understand what happened that day.  The perfect worst storm occurred and we can’t take it back. This event in the making was a recipe made up of a several bad decisions. Seemingly innocent individual events by themselves compiled together in one mixing bowl for a full serving of misery. I absolutely do not blame my wife. We both added ingredients to the mixture. As we pick up the pieces of what could have been, I am quickly reminded how fragile life is and that God is in full control. It’s not about me and it never was. Everything is for God’s glory. This event will not be foothold for Satan to tear us apart. As I declared at the end of Caleb’s service aloud, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”. My faith will not be shaken.

It does absolutely no good to dwell on the things I can’t change. This is not to say I haven’t. I would love to do things over to affect the past, but this is a travesty that can’t be rectified on this side of heaven by wanting a second chance for any one event that was in the mixing bowl. Our greatest challenge is not to examine the individual ingredients too much and have them constantly affect our daily lives by beating ourselves up for an individual bad decision wishing for a do-over. As parents, we need to understand our mistakes so they are not repeated. We have 6 other kids and as much as we try to do things right, we can’t be perfect in every respect. Hindsight is 20/20 and as much as we would love to change the past, we can only affect the present by holding every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ. Realize that this world is all for God’s glory and it’s not about me. To surrender all and one day, it will all be made right in God’s time.

I have been sitting on this blog post in draft for some time. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share but I think parents need to understand how something like this can happen. How individual bad decisions compile or how easily distractions can affect outcomes. Tiffany and I both take some responsibility for this as we added some ingredients. Ultimately God is in control and we will continue to serve Him in everything including the size of our family. We have 6 other children that we continue to focus on. God’s will, not ours be done.

But As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! (Joshua 24:15)


Author: Andrew Dubas



This security camera footage shows context. This is where Tiffany had the front door open and was relaxing with the kids. The video speaks for itself.


Below is the footage of Elijah bringing Caleb back into the house through the kitchen door to Tiffany. He continues to hold him after he gets into the kitchen and then sets him down. Tiffany will remain in the kitchen from this point forward until Caleb is discovered at 5:39 pm.


Below is the last footage of Caleb seen alive. It is hard to see because he happened to be playing with a Chinese food dish with water in it. He just wanted more water and just knew where to find some. The pond. Truly sad. He just wanted to play. Breaks my heart but is something I need to share. I miss him dearly.



The Pond has to Go!

After experiencing the darkness of the pond that night Caleb passed away, I knew nothing would stop by determination to destroy it. The darkness of the pond seemed to taunt me that night to say, “I got you, I got your son” but this would not be the case. Had I had some way to use my machine in the dark, I would have destroyed it that very night. Instead, I retired to the house and would spend the rest of that night in anguish wrestling with God as depicted in “The Switch, All for His Glory.” When first light came, I approached the window in the living room that has view of the pond. I continued to stare at it once again as droplets of rain pierced its glassy surface. I looked to the right where my backhoe was parked and knew it was time. The weather was not good that morning and heavy rain was approaching. I went to my garage where I have a 2 inch water pump and drug it out to the side of the pond. I knew that what I was about to do was for Caleb. As I attached the hoses and began to thread the fittings tight, I could not help but feel the world and all its problems strip away. I had absolute focus as if I were a machine. I still hadn’t slept and though I was a bit numb emotionally, I felt I had the strength of an ox.

As my emotions were peaking, the moment to begin my assault was at hand. The pump was ready to go and it was time for me to pull the starter rope. I turned the choke wide open and began to pull with all of my might. Over and over I pulled but the pump would not start. The pond seemed to be winning but I was not about to quit. As much as I wanted to drain this pond, I did run into a disappointing issue with the pump. The pump was sitting in the garage for a couple years and I had left gas in it. The gas was stale and the spark plug was in no way able to ignite the gasoline. The rain began to come down harder. I looked around as I surveyed my options to accomplish my task. I had to remove the hoses from the pump and take it back into the garage where I would begin the task of draining the rancid gas. I am not very engine handy but did my best to drain the gas and carburetor. It was a bit frustrating but again, nothing was going to slow me down. After I drained the gas and put fresh gas in, I walked the pump back to the pond in the pouring rain. My clothes were becoming heavy and saturated with rain water.

I placed the pump back in place and reattached the hoses with great care and determination while hoping the whole time that my gasoline transfusion would be the cure for this pump to do its job. I opened the choke and began to pull the starter rope once again and the first few pulls were a bit demoralizing as there was no response. I was reminded of Caleb in that moment so close to the pond where I was desperately giving him CPR in the grass nearby. There was no response from him either. I started to question destroying the pond for a moment. Was God trying to tell me something? I decided to pull one more time and to my excitement the pump sputtered and blew out a large cloud of white smoke but did not start all the way. I eagerly pulled again and the pump sputtered some more but started! It was not strong at first but I quickly shifted gears to the siphon tube where the draining of the pond would begin. I was a little concerned because Aaron had fish in the pond. I don’t think anyone in the house knew what I was up to. I was on a mission. As the pond water began to spill out down hill into the grass, I had a great sense of relief come over me. Though I was not done, I knew I was on my way.

As the water level became too low for the pump to do its job, I entered the house and saw Elijah and asked for his help catching the fish for Aaron who was still sleeping in the basement. In that moment I was not ready to tell Aaron I was destroying his pond and with sleep so hard to come by, I did not want to wake him. As Elijah was saving the fish, I started disconnecting the siphon and drain pipes from the pump to make room for my backhoe. Elijah would then go back inside and I continued first with removing rocks that were pinning the edges of the liner down into place. As much as I wanted to just trash the pond with my digging bucket, the liner belonged to Aaron and I did not want to harm it or leave rubber in the soil. During this time my father-in-law Ken arrived at our house and approached and began pulling rocks back with me. Though we haven’t had the best relationship over the years, we continued to work without any words being said. I continued and was able to remove the liner from the hole. With my machine in place, I began to bury the hole that was currently a large source of misery.

It was raining off an on pretty good by this time and my backhoe started getting stuck. I had most of the hole covered and as much as I wanted to continue I had to call it quits. Pastor Justin Reese also showed up at that time and also saw what I was up to. I was really starting to feel good about what I just did. Through it was not as therapeutic as I had hoped it would be, I knew that this pond would not be able to harm anyone ever again. We do have visitors and friends with kids of the same ages as Caleb or younger so it was also important to protect them as well. Now I wanted to make sure Aaron knew what I did. I entered the house, removed my shoes and proceeded to his basement bedroom. I explained to him that I had to destroy the pond and I was very sorry. I explained to him that we caught his fish but for some obvious reasons, the pond had to go. He was totally OK with it and understood completely. I would later finish smoothing over the hole when the soil had time to drain as it was fairly saturated with water. I did take some short video for the record and snapped a few pictures of my mission. I don’t have a GoPro camera so I had to make due with what I had. Enjoy. On a side note, I now have a different respect for my father-in-law. I thanked him afterwords. We actually shared a hug after Caleb’s service. This never happened before so its noteworthy.


IMG_2715 IMG_2714


Author: Andrew Dubas


Darkness of the Pond

The decision to have a fish pond is not without controversy in our home. This journal entry comes with a very heavy heart as it’s so easy after the fact to enter judgement against a bad decision. Trust me, the pond will haunt me for some time and it’s not for obvious reasons. My wife and I want the best for our kids in all things and sometimes the simple things in life can bring great joy. For instance, Aaron, my second oldest son loves to be outside and loves all aspects of God’s creatures big and small. He has several fish tanks in his room right now with frogs, salamanders, worms and fish. There aren’t many times when he’s not outside turning rocks over, finding snakes, picking up caterpillars and the like. In a lot of ways Aaron is most like me. I spent much of my time growing up doing the same things.

In May 2014 we purchased our home that we had been previously rented for two years. With that came lots of changes we could not do as a “renter”. Since we all love the outdoors, one area I started to focus on was clearing trees back from the house and clearing the thick brush to give the kids area to roam. I was very worried about the towering trees so close to the house that could crush it and snuff out life. We also have chickens and some day would like to put up a fence and have livestock. In addition, we would like to have a massive vegetable garden. So many plans… Early on while we were still renting, I cleared a walking trail around the entire property and Tiffany and I many evenings after dinner would walk the property and share our dreams and ideas of how to transform this diamond in the rough property into something we could enjoy and use to provide for our family. Often the younger kids would tag long even though some nights Tiffany and I were just hoping for quiet time. We enjoy the time to debrief and talk about other things as well.

Before we settled on this house, we had talked about what we might like in a property and having water features was one of them. Mainly a creek or pond. We never did find the right property. As our two year lease was approaching, I started to consider other homes because the expense of this one was high. Yes, it’s a great “house” but it comes with big taxes and a high mortgage. With a large family, the things are many that consume cash and cause things to be tight. Honestly, I had considered moving in town where there are sidewalks, no privacy and lots of noise for the sake of saving a lot of money! We never lived in town and usually people who live in town want to get out to the quiet sticks where we are now. We did look and even bid on other houses but for one reason or another everything seemed to fall through and Tiffany did NOT want to move anyway. I say “We” looked for other houses but Tiffany was not entirely a willing partner. It would only be with kicking and screaming at best though she said she would if we found the right place. I eventually gave up my fight to move and we bought the house we are in now.

Late spring or early summer of 2014, my son Aaron approached my wife about perhaps having a pond here on the property. I did not like the idea because we live on a hill and there isn’t a natural water source and it would be stagnant and just breed mosquito. Several times Tiffany came to be with the idea and eventually I agreed with conditions that it would be away from the house and in my security camera view and the spot could be seen from the kitchen window. I had obvious concerns about Caleb finding it. After a spot was located I helped with my chainsaw to clear some brush. Aaron had a friend over and they would dig the outline of the pond in a area that was approved and also an area that might pick up rain runoff as well. Aaron needed to buy a liner with his own money. I was in no way going to fund any aspect of this “pond.”

At the same time Aaron was working and excited about his pond, I was Craigslist shopping for a used backhoe. Clearing brush and stumps and moving earth is very tedious and slow by hand and prohibitively expensive to hire out. Though I would not find a backhoe soon, I was continuing to clear trees. Aaron had paused on his pond as he was shopping for a pond liner. I had been clearing trees near the pond area and some came down over top the area where he was working along with tree limbs. Normally I take several trees down and then take the next few days to process them. Perhaps I bit off more than I could chew on this batch and a couple days turned into a couple weeks.

I am not sure exactly on the details but I am certain on my reaction on what would happen next. I can’t remember if Tiffany asked to move the pond to another spot closer to the house and I said no first but one day when I came home to find Tiffany, Aaron and the kids digging a big hole just 10-15 feet from the back porch. We had stumps removed a week earlier and there were some craters near the house. They decided to make use of the partially dug area to place a pond by digging out more since a hole was already basically there. I remember being furious. I said no way was there going to be a pond so close to the house. I flat out said to Tiffany in these exact words, “NO, you are not putting a pond here, it is a BABY KILLER!!! It needs to go.” I was already concerned in the first place and was fit to be tied quite honestly. I told Aaron once I had my backhoe I would help dig somewhere else and was going to fill all their work back in. No pond there, no way!!!

I don’t think anything happened that evening in regards to the pond as distractions abound and my recollection is somewhat blurry and I can’t remember if Aaron already had his new liner by that time or not but I know I came home and the liner was in with water and all. Even though I blew off steam at them, the hole they dug actually was not very big. I did see their excitement and knew that I would destroy it anyway when I got my backhoe so I thought I would let them have their fun for now and I would smash it later. After a week or so, the small pond they dug did not seem so threatening. It was not very big at all. In fact, sunny days would send the water temp super high and I began to feel bad that it wasn’t done right and I doubted any fish would survive. I continued to think it was an eyesore and I could not wait to get rid of it! Finding a backhoe in my price range was a challenge. I’m guessing at least a month would go by before I would eventually find one. During that time, Caleb really did not go near the small pond as he would instead always go to the chicken pen and we were extremely careful and watched how he reacted to it anyway. It’s not like Caleb is allowed outside by himself.

In retrospect, I think what happened after deep reflection on all of the events that took place is that the small pond they built desensitized me. The month or so it took me to get the backhoe and seeing this pathetic looking pond not as a huge threat lowered my defenses. The pond was a huge hit and the kids loved it. What parent does not like to see joy in their children? This childlike faith and fascination with God’s creation was neat to see and a bit contagious. I would eventually get my backhoe on August 14, 2014. As I write that date, I can’t help but notice it to be two months before to the day that Caleb would pass away.

When I first got the machine, I was excited and did a lot of maintenance on it and was running it almost every day learning the controls and getting work done quickly that would have taken days or weeks by hand. I started out in the open of the property around the house. There were a lot of stump holes and it was good practice. I was really becoming comfortable  running this machine. On Saturday September 6th Aaron was at flag football like he normally is on a Saturday and I was home running my new toy.  I was driving back and forth from the front of the property to the back and drove right past the pond. I remember not having a specific plan that day for the backhoe and thought to myself as I drove past,  “that thing is really ugly.” The liner was all bunched up and lame. I know the kids love it so I thought I would surprise Aaron and make it bigger so the full length of the liner could be spread out as intended but to hard to do by hand.

Honestly, I did not even think once about moving it or of my previous concerns. I thought all I had to do was pull the liner to the side and use by bucket to dig and then just unfold the liner. So I started. Things did not go exactly as planned. Elijah heard the heavy machine and came outside to see what I was up to. He would end up helping me and also took part in joy of making a “proper” fish pond. When Aaron got home, I could see his excitement. We still had a lot of work to do and Aaron was already trying to imagine how he would add habitat for his creatures. It was neat to see. The other kids were excited too. Some even said they wanted to ice skate on it when it was winter. How cute is that right? Below is what the pond looked like on September 9, 2014. The spot being filled was the deeper side at about 18″ inches and the opposite side was fairly shallow.


As time would go on, Aaron and the family would continue to work on it. Even up to a few days before Caleb would enter this pond, Tiffany and I had been adding boulders down into the pond. She did not like seeing the liner. It needed to be perfect. This was still an ongoing project. Aaron did have a giant log in the middle and we already had boulders on the shallow side completed.

I titled this blog entry “Darkness of the Pond” because it would be the same night that Caleb drown in it that I would find myself sitting by myself in the pitch black kneeling beside it with it’s steely black waters staring back at me and hands touching the cold rocks where Caleb seemingly stumbled over. It wasn’t just the “darkness” of the water but what the pond now represented. I Wondered how it was possible. Was it real or could I be dreaming? How did this happen? I said to myself, “Please Lord, let me wake up from this nightmare. I have to be dreaming. Please tell me this isn’t real.” I continued to gaze into the pond as to search for a way out from my misery. Shimmers of light reflecting back at me on the pond’s surface from the interior lights of the house continued jolting me back to reality as I looked over to see it filled with so many people. Why were they here? I had no where to go and would they notice I was gone or what I was doing? What WAS I doing? I just wanted to be with Caleb. I desperately wanted a do-over. I was faced then with a very horrible reality. As I continued to stare at the dark glassy waters they seemed to laugh at me and say, “I got you. I got your son.”  Anger began to build.  This pond that I did not want, I ended up making LARGER. I can’t help but wonder how this happened in the way that it did. I knew right then and there, the pond has to go. It now represented something evil as it attempted to taunt me.

As, I reflect back on my life as a Christian, I can’t help but see other times where I compromised or became desensitized  by little things or allowed certain things in my life that should not have been there and later wonder how my adversary had gained a foothold. It happened. Whether its the choice of TV shows and movies or what games I allow my kids to play on the game consoles and the list goes on and on. There is no doubt that Satan puts many shiny distractions in this world and as the bible says in 1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.(KJV)” This verse could not be more clear.

I have no doubt that my adversary wants me. He has been trying for years. When Tiffany finally made her way to the hospital that night after learning Caleb would not be coming home with us, I met her just outside where we would say our final goodbyes at his bedside. Tiffany was sobbing, her spirit obviously crushed and broken. The first thing she did  as we embraced was profusely apologize and cried out, “don’t be mad at me, you said it was a BABY KILLER, I’m sooo sorry please forgive me.”

I was not even thinking that way and I tried to comfort Tiffany as best I could. After leaving the hospital, my main concern now was how this would affect my son Aaron. This was “his” pond after all right?. He wanted it. No, Aaron is in NO WAY responsible for Caleb’s death and I continue to affirm this with him. There is nothing wrong with desiring a pond. I want Aaron to have many joyful experiences in life and this was MY decision. Though the location changed, I am the leader of my house. The buck stops with me as they say and just as I would lay down my life for Caleb as a replacement, Aaron needs to know that the pond was my responsibility. I CHOSE to make it bigger. The smaller version was quite harmless in retrospect. I should have left well enough alone but I have the ultimate responsibility in my home and I made it bigger without consulting anyone. Caleb’s safety is my responsibility and I failed in that respect concerning the pond.

As I try to keep our family in tact and focused on God, there is no doubt that the “Darkness of the Pond” continues to haunt me in some respects. This is one area that my adversary continues to attack me over and over. So it is important that I seek your prayers. The “what-ifs” generally start here but the list goes on how many other decisions would have affected this event like even why I never thought to put up a fence. It seems when I let my guard down with the small pond, my adversary devoured me in a sense. I am ever reminded now of this verse 2 Corinthians 10:5 where it sates we should “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.(NIV)”

Putting God first in all things is my sole priority right now. It’s not about me and never was. It is all for His glory. Please continue to pray.

Author: Andrew Dubas


The Switch. All for His Glory.

Because of social media, word traveled fast about my son Caleb. My wife made a plea early on Facebook for prayer and in brief postings explained the grave situation we were facing. I was still very numb at the hospital and perhaps in shock. God had just told me, “NO” and reality was setting in and I almost felt bad that I was not showing any emotion as everyone around me seemed to fall apart. As we made our way home, I was faced with a house full of people including the state police who wanted my security camera footage. I can’t say I was ready to see everyone and though the support was appreciated, I needed to be alone. To face God. I remember pacing around the house not being able to stand still. There was no escaping myself. No off switch for the pain and anger that was building. I can say I was fit to be tied on the inside but on the outside completely emotionless.

As the people left later that evening, as a family we slept in the living room. All of the kids brought their blankets and pillows as we wanted to be close. We did this for perhaps the first week. The problem for me was I was not able to sleep. Slowly the kids fell asleep and in the wee hours of the morning Tiffany finally drifted off I believe somewhere in the 4 am hour. My issue was flashbacks. Every time I would begin to fall asleep, I would startle back awake trying to save Caleb all over again and expecting a different result that would not come. Honestly, as the evening went on, my anger towards God was increasing. Not understanding why or how this could happen. I was trying my hardest to make sense of something that did not make any sense. Completely alone, because in those moments I was rejecting God. I did not want to be with him. Was it blame? I continued to toss and turn. Moving from the living room to the bedroom. Peace was not to be found. Only anger, rage, pain and fury to name a few.

By the 6 am hour, something switched. I found myself on my knees at my bed side. I turned on some worship music on my phone and began to pray and the floodgates of emotion began to erupt. The sorrow, the sobbing and crying out, “NO Lord, NO. Please Lord NO.” Emotions were racing and the pain was so intense. I started to scream into the comforter on my bed while crushing the fabric in my clenched fists. My release started to wake my family. My daughter Alexis was the first to check on me as she approached and put her arm around me but I was at that point inconsolable. She left as Tiffany came in. The anger and rage erupted I believe at both God and Satan. There was some very foul language (sorry Tiffany) directed at Satan and I recall smashing my arms down on the bed, pounding it while sobbing uncontrollably.

I fell to my face in the most submissive position possible toward God and cried out for mercy over and over. “Mercy Lord!, mercy  Lord!, mercy!” Over and over again as I was crying for mercy from the pain and anguish. I recall declaring that Satan had no control over me and he would not tear my family apart and I said aloud, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15).” Eventually, I calmed down. I moved to the living room to rejoin my family but sleep would still evade me. I was however looking to God for answers. A lot of my anger had subsided but still ultimately not sure which end was up. A few hours would pass before I was contacted by the funeral home to pick out a life verse for Caleb’s service program. Life goes on right? I texted our youth pastor Justin Reese and asked if he could think of any verses and asked him to ask the other pastors if they could think of one. Meanwhile, I sat down in the kitchen and began with Google to start my own search.

I started with search terms like, “losing a child bible verses” or something like that and found a few great sites. It was soon after that I settled on this life verse for Caleb with emphasis on the last sentence:

Psalm 139:13-16 New International Version (NIV)

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

As I found comfort in this verse, I was hungry for more. I continued to follow links and eagerly consumed more verses when I found the most profound site that would finally give me understanding and it was centered on God’s zeal for His own glory and here it is:

Biblical Texts to Show God’s Zeal for His Own Glory

The author John Piper (sorry, I have no idea who he is) goes on to write:

“Probably no text in the Bible reveals the passion of God for his own glory more clearly and bluntly as Isaiah 48:9-11 where God says,

For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.

I have found that for many people these words come like six hammer blows to a man-centered way of looking at the world

As I continued to study the other references listed on that page it became exceedingly clear that EVERYTHING is for God’s glory. It is my opinion that ultimately, even the bad things that happen on this earth are ultimately for God’s glory. He is the one who created absolutely everything and everything is for his Glory. This is not to say we are puppets and our every move was predestined and that we don’t have free will. Yes, God being omniscient has foreknowledge of every event that happens but in the end, IT IS ALL FOR HIS GLORY!!!! It is not about me. It never was. Everything is for his Glory. Caleb was for His glory, the people affected by Caleb was for God’s glory, my response as a result of losing Caleb is for His glory. The layout of Caleb’s service was for God’s glory. Me saying at the end of Caleb’s service, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord” was for God’s glory. All that I am and every will be IS FOR GOD’s GLORY! Praise be to God the Great I AM. I surrender all and it is all for His glory.

Are you with me?

Author: Andrew Dubas

 Tiffany 920_20130417_001 Tiffany 920_20131129_005 Tiffany 920_20131113_002 Tiffany 920_20140103_001 IMG_0652IMG_2591.jpg IMG_04061.jpg IMG_1926 IMG_15791.jpg unnamed-171.jpg






Tiffany Dubas – Best Mom Ever!

Here I am at 7:30 am preparing for my day checking my work email, personal email, Facebook notifications and another thing I always do is review my security camera footage because I like to see what stopped by in the middle of the night. Would it be raccoon, cats or opposum I wondered? No, I caught Tiffany Dubas carrying our 4 year old Isaiah onto the front porch at 3:30 am perhaps for fresh air or to distract his misery. Isaiah woke up with a horrible cough and seemed to have a hard time getting his breath. I know because he came to my wife’s bed side and woke us both up. Tiffany took Isaiah I thought to the living room to console him. I fell back to sleep. This morning while reviewing the security camera footage, I could not help being struck at all that is Tiffany. Over the years I have seen Tiffany sacrifice all that she is and pour out her life to her children. From her very waking moments to her last moments of the day where she can barely function from exhaustion, she is still pouring out her soul to our children. It truly is remarkable. I can’t help but be reminded how many times she has gone without sleep, cleaned up vomit, changed countless diapers, prepared meals, tons of laundry (literally), and home schools but more importantly her selfless sacrifice and spending inordinate amounts of time with our children. Managing a family our size has got to be like being an air traffic controller. She only wants the best for our kids and it is truly amazing to see how our kids respond and blossom because of it. God continues to pour out his blessing on my family and looking back, Tiffany has been God’s best blessing to me. I truly love her. It is not something easily put into words but yea… great stuff! The security camera video below speaks volumes. Enjoy!


God Said, “NO.”

Finding words is perhaps the most difficult aspect of trying to describe the aftermath of losing Caleb. In the first few hours, I did not entirely understand what happened. One moment life is rainbows and unicorns and the next I am trying desperately to rescue my son from bodily death. Being trained in CPR is something every parent should have in their parental toolkit. In fact, if you are reading this now, waste no time in finding how to be trained. Your child’s life may depend on it or even a complete stranger who may need you. That being said, in the initial moments my training took over and looking back, I executed flawlessly. By God’s grace I remained calm. Directed Tiffany to dial 911 and told Jeremiah to run to the end of the driveway to meet the ambulance so not one moment would be wasted. Though I know nowadays that chest compressions are key I did manage to give Caleb breath into his lungs. Though he did not respond I did not stop the compressions. I was not tired and not fatigued. I turned into a machine. I did not pass Caleb to the EMTs until they were absolutely ready to take over and even then was not entirely ready to pass responsibility over to another. While they were preparing him for the ambulance, I ran inside to get a dry pair of pants and get my wallet. Time could not go any slower. From the time it took for the ambulance to reach our home until we made it to route 100 and then route 29 and finally Lehigh Valley Hospital, screamed eternity!

I recall exactly where it happened… Even though I was praying and pleading the entire time I was giving CPR to Caleb, it was not until We reached route 100 that my requests to God took a significant change. After we turned left off of Huffs Church Rd and entered the straight away where we could finally drive a little faster, I begged God to be Caleb’s replacement. For Caleb’s cup to be passed to me. As a father, the love for my children knows no bound. I would gladly lay down my life to save my family, or any member of my family. I continued to plead not only for Caleb’s life but also for God to strike me down as a substitute if it were possible. I did consider that my family needed me however if there was any way for me to drink Caleb’s cup, I would do so. We would eventually arrive at Lehigh Valley Hospital and the ER trauma team did everything perfectly but it was too late. God said, “NO.” This would not be the first time God has said no to me in my life but this was exceedingly difficult to swallow. My flesh would soon take over and anger started to set in. Though I will not dwell on my anger with God, it’s important to see how my attitude towards God would change in the hours after Caleb’s passing. I will expound on this in more detail soon in another post. Even writing this now I also can’t help but think how God allowed his Son Jesus to take my place. John 3:16 has vivd new meaning. A verse so common and perhaps shoved aside by many without counting the cost.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”





Routines Challenged

Today, October 28, 2014 marks 14 days since Caleb has passed but more importantly it has been 15 full days since my family and I have had a sit down meal together without guests. The outpouring of support since Caleb went to be with the Lord has been truly amazing and at times overwhelming. We’ve had meals brought to us, countless visitors and in general a plethora of distractions. Today however was different because though my wife had daytime visitors, we had our first meal together without guests this evening and another reminder of how daily routines are being challenged. Last week, the kids felt ready to go back to school so they did and this week I went back to work. Starting to reclaim some routine in our lives has been a good first step to recovery as a family however there was something very different about dinner tonight.

As meal time approached, Tiffany looked distraught as I entered the kitchen; her glassy eyes began to spill over and sorrow soaked tears slid down her cheeks as she approached me for a hug in obvious distress. She asked for help to prepare dinner because she was having to get the place settings and tonight the one for Caleb would be missing. This would be our first dinner without Caleb as a family. We had already removed Caleb’s high chair in the kitchen as it was a bit too much to bare but again every other night we had distractions. I could feel my soul churn as what Tiffany had already begun to experience was starting to consume me. As each moment passed, I knew as a family we would have to pass through this door. The kids could see our concern. I wanted to go straight to the Lord and immediately turned on worship music  and cranked it loud throughout the house. I needed to set my affection on the Lord and focus on him for comfort. Honestly, worship music has been medicine to my soul. I knew that I would have to pray before our meal but tonight would be different. We normally hold hands as a family and I knew tonight would be no exception. I could feel the weight of the moment.

I truly felt different and prayed differently as well. It was not the normal, “Thank you for this day Lord and thank you for this food may it bless our bodies to do your will.” type of prayer. I definitely went deeper as I felt very connected to God in that moment. Though my prayer was not super long it was definitely specific in asking for comfort as we missed Caleb at the dinner table. Though I do not recall my every word, I felt the Holy Spirit lead me. It was refreshing. I yearn for more family connection like that. We generally do not pray very much as a family or have devotions as distractions scatter us in every direction. I think that is a mistake. Even before Caleb’s passing for weeks before I think God was working on my heart for more devotion. I am not sure where this will go but I know that God is refining me in way I never thought possible. I look forward to where God will be taking us. We miss Caleb dearly and I covet your prayers. This time in our lives has really tested our faith. So fitting that my wife and I have been memorizing the book of James. Read it, you will know what I mean.

I think this whole dinner thing will get better over time however tonight former routines have been challenged in a good way. One thing is for certain… a simple dinner prayer won’t cut it any longer. To God be the glory!

Author: Andrew Dubas andrew@dubas.org





About This Blog…

I will start by declaring I’ts not about me. I started this blog to have a place to journal my experience relating to losing my 18 month old son Caleb to accidental drowning. I am not a professional writer. My grammar and punctuation skills are not refined so allow me some grace in that area. I am not looking for fame and it’s OK if I am the only one looking at my posts. I wanted to have a place to compile my memories of Caleb and just journal my thoughts. In some respect, if someone can benefit from my experience or someone would be so moved to accept my faith as their own as a result, then my mission is accomplished but ultimately, everything is for God’s glory and I am not looking for attention. In fact, I am quite introverted. This event however has so moved me that I feel compelled to share and express myself in this way. In future posts, I will try my best to explain this event that has left me changed forever.

As for the author, my name is Andrew and I am currently 40 years old with 6 remaining children ages – Jeremiah 15, Aaron 14, Elijah 12, Alexis 10, Josiah 7, and Isaiah 4. I have been married now 17 years and a professed Christian since I was a teenager. I will delve into my faith more as time goes on along with family dynamics, why we have so many children and where we stand today as a result of losing our youngest child. I am not sure how many posts there will be or how long this will go on. Obviously privacy is an issue and things I post are very personal. Again, it’s not about me and as much as I want to dedicate this site to my son Caleb, this blog is ultimately for God’s glory. Let’s see where this goes…




Caleb Andrew Dubas – Obituary


Caleb A. Dubas, 18 months old, of Albutris, passed away on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest.

Born in Reading, PA he was a son of Andrew P. and Tiffany E. (Bilger) Dubas of Alburtis, PA.

He was a member of Salem Bible Church, Macungie, PA.

Surviving in addition to his parents are his five siblings Jeremiah, Aaron, Elijah, Josiah, Isaiah and Alexis Dubas, Alburtis, PA; paternal grandparents, John Dubas and wife, Helen of Barto, PA; maternal grandparents, Ken Bilger of Bally, Pa; Dorothy Harnley of Boyertown, PA and George Hamilton and wife, Trish of Linfield, PA; seven aunts and uncles, Christine Melcher of Barto, PA; Tarence Bilger of Hereford, PA; Tracey Gerhart of Fleetwood, PA; George Hamilton, Jr. of Mexico; Sean Hamilton of Manhattan, NY; Brittany Kunze of Limerick, PA and Sheena Alderfer of Pottstown, PA.

A celebration of life service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 18, 2014 at Salem Bible Church, 8031 Salem Bible Church Rd, Macungie, PA 18062 with Rev. John Hutteman officiating.  Relatives and friends are invited to a visitation from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. Saturday at the church.  Burial will follow in the church cemetery.  Arrangements are entrusted to Mann-Slonaker Funeral Home, 222 Washington Street, East Greenville, PA.  Offer words of comfort to the family at www.mannslonakerfuneralhome.com.

Memorial contributions may be made in his memory to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 6931 Arlington Rd, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814.