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It was an August morning. One minute, I was sitting on the floor watching TV. The next minute, I looked up and noticed my mom was unresponsive. My body went numb as I pressed 9-1-1 into the phone…

“One, two, three, four …” the operator counted on the other end of the line as I pressed harder and harder with each compression. Each shaky breath made me unsteady as my surroundings fell away, my focus on one point: my mom. No longer thinking, just working on automatic. Sirens wailed in the distance and hope soared within. “One, two, three, four…” again and again until my living room was filled with responders, eager to take over. I retracted as they moved to take my place and finally stood, my stomach churning as if I was on a roller coaster. Frozen in place, time seemed to stand still as if this was all a dream. I stuttered through question after question trying to think of an answer.

“Yes, I was home alone.”

“It was so sudden.”

“One minute awake and the next not.”

My mind was a jumbled mess and all I could do was stand there, focus on my breathing, and pray as the paramedics shocked her heart over and over - trying to get a rhythm. My mom was one of the lucky ones, an added number to the 12% of cardiac arrest survivors. Her doctors and nurses congratulated me and praised how quickly I reacted to call 911 and start CPR. I received a Community Resuscitation Award, a National 911 for Kids Youth Caller award, and an official proclamation from our mayor. However, the recognition was not what I was seeking. The true reward was my mom, safe and healthy.

Moments appear and disappear so fast that often we do not realize until they are taken from us. Today, social media demands our attention. Our phones are magnets: eyes glued to them. This is the world I grew up in. I constantly checked for one notification or another. Waiting. Always waiting. Worried about how people saw me. Their opinions. So much time focused on the bad, the negatives.


A Saturday morning, the smell of home cooked blueberry muffins wafting through the house, the cheers of Liverpool fans on the TV. No scrolling through social media or constructing plans for tomorrow. Instead, I sit back on the small gray couch and take it all in. Every last moment. Each one carefully encoded into memory to be recalled later on. This is what I prayed for during those moments of terror: the simple things. Six small minutes, an eternity to me, changed my life forever.

© Elizabeth Deverman . All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team and we can put you in touch with the author’s teacher.