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A Life Saving Moment

By Terresa Wellborn

I was deck side with my daughters, taking a break in the shade, when we heard the first screams. Little did we know, a day that started with pancakes and Uno would end in near death.


The end of the summer found us with our dear friends traveling to Downata Hot Springs, Idaho. The goal? Play, swim, and watch the Perseid meteor shower far from city lights.

After a few games of nine square and dinner, we settled down for smores and star gazing. Our kids were too interested in chatting to see many meteors, but my friend, April, and I saw plenty. The heavens lit with flame. At one point a raccoon joined us, army crawling to our picnic table for a late night snack until we screamed and it ducked for cover.

The next day we checked out of our cabins and headed over to the hot springs. It was a bright end-of-summer day, crowded with lots of families diving, paddling, and goofing around. I was deck side with my daughters, taking a break in the shade, when we heard the first screams.

We looked over and saw a lifeless boy being lifted from the pool, head back, limbs limp. I dashed to the pool to find April, a trained nurse, already in action. She shouted, “I know CPR. Please stand back.” While lifeguards fidgeted and pulled on gloves, then tried to make the incoherent boy walk (!), April stepped forward, gathered up the boy, and carried him to a nearby office. Away from the crowds, she laid him down and began CPR. Through the office window, after what felt like hours, I saw the boy vomit on the floor. A good sign.

While April helped, pool staffers herded the rest of us away to a back patio, in case an ambulance arrived. I talked with the woman who found the boy at the bottom of the pool. She was visibly shaken. “I saw something blue at the bottom of the pool. I couldn’t tell what it was but is wasn’t moving. It was odd. Then I asked my mom and sisters, What IS that? That’s when we went over and found him.”

Over and over, I kept thinking of the line from Dylan Thomas, “And death shall have no dominion.” And then of T.S. Eliot’s, “I should be glad of another death.” Preferably one decades from now for us all, at age 90 or 100, thank you.

All the same, death drew near us that summer day. While we awaited news of the boy, we fidgeted, reapplied sun screen, comforted our children. Clouds gathered on the horizon: an imminent thunder storm. In time, April returned. She had good news. The boy’s oxygen levels had improved. He was coming around. We breathed again.

A day that began without hesitation or fear, ended with gratitude and a renewed sense of life.

“One person of integrity can make a difference, a difference of life and death.”
-Elie Wiesel

I’m grateful to call my friend, April, the hero of the day. In one life saving moment, she made all the difference.


Tell us, have you ever saved a life? Or witnessed someone else save a life?

About Terresa Wellborn

Terresa Wellborn has been published in BYU Studies, Dialogue, and several anthologies including Fire in the Pasture, Monsters and Mormons, and Dove Song: Heavenly Mother in Mormon Poetry. She has a BA degree in English Literature and a MLIS degree in Library and Information Science. Her joys include her four children, books, and chocolate babka. She reads faster than she hikes, runs faster than she writes, and has often been mistaken for Miss Frizzle. When not on a mountaintop, she prefers to dwell in possibility.

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