Could You Save A Life?

Do you know CPR? Could you save a life?

It can happen in a split second.

You’re going about your ordinary day only to be thrust into extraordinary circumstances.

Life and death.

A child. Blue lips. Screaming parents. Sounds you’ve never heard and hope never to hear again.

Your body reacts before your mind. Your hands take over compressing the little girl’s chest. Breathe your essence into her. One, two, three…

You’re pretty sure she’s gone, yet you stay calm amidst the chaos circling the room.

You believe in miracles.

After what feels an interminable wait, the paramedics arrive. You step aside as they take over, whisk the child away. 

The hysteria unfolds outside the house where the October sky is too beautiful for tragedy.

October 202

You recognize the shock in the mother’s face. You know what is happening to her brain and body because you have been there before. So you stay, try to steady her, speak gently, hold her, run through the house to find her shoes, help her go with the ambulance.

You answer the police officer’s questions. You notice his moist eyes. Now you are shaking. He takes you home, thanks you for being there, tells you to take good care of yourself.

But it is not you who needs care. You will be okay.

The child’s parents will remain in the After–a place you have lived in–never ever the same. 

This is what haunts you.

Their little girl doesn’t come home.


You reflect, of course. Try to make meaning of what happened before breakfast on a bright ordinary morning. Why you, of all people, were there at that right/wrong moment. You with the anxious brain prone to panic.

Later you will learn that there was nothing the parents, or you, could have done at that point to save the child. There were underlying circumstances. No one was at fault.

Of course there are no guarantees. Minutes matter. Often it is too late.

Still, you take comfort knowing you tried. And that those left to carry on are also comforted by this knowledge. You were with them in their worst moment. 

You think about a few close calls you had when your own children were little, how you did the right thing. But that was a while ago. So you take time to review other life-saving skills. Encourage others to do the same.

Because you never know when you’ll be called upon to help a stranger. Or a neighbor. And if that doesn’t motivate you to learn first-aid skills, then think of your children, grandchildren, or spouse. 

Could you perform CPR?

Could you save someone from choking?

Do you know the signs of a stroke?

Do you know how to use a home fire extinguisher?

It can happen in a split second.

I know. I’ve been there. ~

Author: EvelynKrieger

I'm a people watcher and word crafter, author of fiction and essays. I also blog on living the creative life during hard times. When not writing, I work as a private educational consultant. Special interests: dance, the moon, astronauts, beaches, poetry, staying alive.

16 thoughts on “Could You Save A Life?”

  1. Hauntingly written. Proof that even amidst tragedy and trauma there can be angels. Thank you for writing this piece if only as a powerful reminder of both the preciousness of life and the responsibility on each of our parts to best be prepared how to save one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A heartfelt call for us all to have CPR training, to learn how to help to the best of our ability. Sadly I would not know what to do but I’ve thought of joining a quick St John Ambulance course. You’ve inspired me to look into this sooner rather than later. Having had a stroke myself I know the symptoms and signs of this … your ending hints at a tragic outcome and my heart goes out to you.


    1. Thank you, Annika. Even watching videos and reading about the technique can be enough to intervene. Yes, imagining what you would do is also helpful. I took that walking route a thousand times and the thousand one time I found myself thrust into this unbelievable situation. I don’t even remember making the decision to act. Yes, the ending was tragic. I continue to ache for the family. And the images of what I witnessed
      continue to spring up at night.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I was 18 when my father passed away. I had no CPR training, but I still tried to save his life. I found out later that he died three hours before I found him – purple lips and all. I am still haunted by that memory.

    It took place during finals week during my first semester of college.

    I do believe knowing CPR is important. I just cannot do it.


    1. I hope you found some relief in knowing you did your best at the time even though it was too late. I hope that other memories of your father can replace that day. There is so much more than the final hours as I have finally come to know and believe these past 6 years after losing my Dad in an accidental fire. I wasn’t there but I often thought about what I might have done if I had been. Despite our perceived limits, we just never know our capabilities. Thank you for sharing this, Dragonfly.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I am so sorry for your loss, Evelyn! (((Hugs))) Six years is relatively a short time, when compared to my father passing away over 25 years ago. My memories of my past are in bits and pieces, due to my dissociative disorder. Sometimes my past seems or feels like it is in the present, no matter how long ago the traumatizing event was.

        I am doing a lot better with such memories than I was a decade or two ago.

        My memories of my dad are bittersweet, given my dysfunctional family history. But I love my dad nonetheless.

        Thank you for your kind words! I hope you are doing well!

        I know that survivor’s guilt is a common feeling we experience after a traumatic loss. There is often nothing we could have done to prevent their passing, but we still feel that weight of responsibility. Nevertheless, it was neither our responsibility nor our fault. Our bargaining-like reaction to grief would like to consider alternative possibilities or even an alternative universe, when it comes to loss. It is much more challenging to accept what is.

        But, I am also an other-world thinker and thus hope that there is a sweet, fun, peaceful afterlife all the while.

        For that last thought, I hope our fathers are somewhere living on and are happy. (I hope that was okay to say.)

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Could you perform CPR?

    Only if somebody was helping me along the way.

    Could you save someone from choking?

    Meimlich Maneuver I’d try.

    Do you know the signs of a stroke?

    Spurred speech. Labored body movement

    Do you know how to use a home fire extinguisher?

    Again getting help from others first would help me.I learn fast.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you read this and thought about the questions. Regarding a fire: Often there’s not time to get help from someone else. A kitchen home fire extinguisher has the simple instructions on it which are good to review from time to time. In the midst of true emergency, our brains sometimes panice.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Four years ago I gave my husband CPR for approximately 7 minutes until the paramedics arrived. He survived for 2 days before passing from Cardiac Arrest. It was very traumatic. Then my only child passed a year later. My parents passed years ago. The suffering and grief has been almost unbearable, but I am a spiritual person and know that when we pass we become one with everyone and everything.


  6. I should add that it’s an entirely different scenario when you’re totally on your own with no close family to help support you through such tragedy. You crave for someone to have walked in your shoes, no know what it’s like to be so heartbroken, alone, and lonely.


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