We Are America

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I’ve always been very close to my parents. My mom and dad have always been there for me, and I consider them to be my closest friends. We often take trips all over the country. We never experienced any issues until our trip to North Carolina.  It was a late December afternoon. My family traveled to North Carolina to go skiing for winter break. Since my family lives in Florida, we don’t get to see snow often, so we thought it would be a good idea to go up north. Every day we would ski for hours. It was awesome. My brother and I just took a break from the slopes when we got a call from our dad, “Your mom is in the hospital.”  At first, we thought it wasn’t a big deal and that she would be out of the hospital soon. Once our dad picked us up, we went to the hospital to talk to mom and to check on her health. She said she wasn’t feeling well, but she wouldn’t be in the hospital long. Shortly after, the doctor walked in and  asked her questions about her medical history.  A few days passed, and she still wasn’t out of the hospital. She needed an oxygen tube because she was having difficulty breathing. After this, I realized my mom might be in the hospital longer than we initially planned. My dad, brother, and I headed back to Florida to pick up our dogs. My mom stayed in North Carolina because it was the safest place for her.  A week later, we received a call. The doctor told us that they were placing my mom in the intensive care unit and putting her into a medically induced coma. After I heard the news, I felt terrified at the possibility of losing my mom. Two days later, we were in a car accident, and our car almost flipped over. The day after that, my dog died. Shortly after, we received another call, and the doctor said that my mom was close to death. I thought our family was cursed or jinxed because we were on a streak of bad luck.  We never thought this was possible. My mother had takotsubo (a mimic of a heart attack), double pneumonia, swine flu, and she already had asthma. I recall my dad entering my room, crying, saying that my mom was about to die. I remember feeling overwhelmed with sadness, and I prayed with my brother. After about an hour of praying, I finally fell asleep.  Later that night, we got a call from the hospital, saying she had to undergo surgery. She died for seven minutes, and then the doctors brought her back to life. The doctor told us she was stable, but they could not guarantee a full recovery. I remember this being the happiest time in my life because I thought she would be fine. We called the hospital a hundred times to check on her; each time, we were told that she was stable. Finally, after two days, she was improving and awoke from her 14 days of a medically induced coma.  When we finally spoke to her, she continually mentioned that she didn’t want to die alone and that she wanted my dad to come. My dad immediately traveled up to North Carolina to comfort my mom and to ensure she would recover. After a week, I finally saw my mom. She had recovered.  One lesson I learned from this experience is to take nothing for granted, especially your parents. Children always think their parents are invincible and will always be alive, but unfortunately, this isn’t true. I value the time I spend with my mom and treasure my family. 

© Ari Greene. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person’s teacher.