Last week, my daughter nearly drowned. And my baby son too. We were up in the Rocky Mountains hiking. The rivers were at flood stage because of the enormous amount of snowmelt. Think huge, gushing, whitewater flowing very fast. We crossed a bridge over one of these rivers, one she had crossed many times before. The dog pushed by her before I could stop him and pushed her off the side of the bridge into the current. I was holding the baby (9 months old) and without thinking for even an instant, I jumped in behind my daughter and managed to catch the edge of her skirt before she was washed away. We went down the river together. I have this picture in my mind of my daughter's face underwater with her eyes wide open screaming, and my son's little head underwater with the water rushing over his hair. Somehow, I don't remember how, I made it to a willow sticking out into the river and managed to hold on with my teeth and braced the three of us with my feet. My partner had jumped in by this time, underestimating the strength of the river, and was a little downstream. Somehow he made it to the willow and we got the kids out of the water.
I think it was one of the worst experiences in my life. I was so scared that I couldn't stop shaking and crying for an hour afterward. My kids, on the other hand didn't seem immediately fazed. My daughter keeps talking about it, but with a smile on her face, and with jokes about going swimming by accident. But her behavior since then has been atrocious. She's yelling at us all (particularly her older brother) - really angry sounding yells with tiny incidents to trigger them. She doesn't want to talk to me about acting nicer. She fights to get away from me when I carry her over to the couch to talk about the yelling and meanness.
I'm wondering if she could have been traumatized by this incident, and that's why she's acting like this. I don't really know how to help her work through it. I know I have had to work through it in my own mind during the last week - feelings of guilt for not thinking of the baby, feelings of guilt for feeling guilty about the baby, a million hideous what-ifs. My mom says I need to feel grateful that everything is okay, but somehow this doesn't come easily. I just feel scared and guilty. I can't imagine how my daughter feels. Any suggestions about how to help her?