Miracle on Keystone Street This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

January 19, 2010
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The panic seeped through the pores of the phone as a look terror overcame his face. Every parent’s worst nightmare had come true. “OH MY GOD. Did you call 9-11? Is he breathing? Calm down, I’ll be right there!” Although he gave instructions to my sister to remain calm, I could tell he was as distraught as she. Completely bewildered and scared, I took a step back, feeling like I was about to keel over. My dad ran from the softball practice he was coaching of mine.

“Kathryn, I need you to make sure everyone gets a ride. Once that’s done, hurry and get home”. Some of the words were lost, as he ran towards my house. A million thoughts tore through my head, about as fast as the fire engine that was headed full speed down my street. My mind immediately rushed to the worst possible scenario, while hoping desperately for the best.
It was a perfect summer day in the beginning of June. The sky was bright aquamarine, and it seemed as though the birds were serenading the world with their blissful song. My mom had about fifteen children including my siblings over at our house that day, to swim in our pool. She was the only adult supervisor. All of the sudden, my mom did one of her countless head checks. She realized the count was one short, and her heart skipped a beat. As her eyes darted frantically around the pool to find out who was missing, she saw that my three year old brother Owen was nowhere to be found. She screamed for my sister Mary Grace to try to find him. At last they came across a lifeless lump at the bottom of the pool. My sister discovered that it was Owen, and she yanked his cold, unconscious body out of the water.

He lay sprawled out on the deck as my mom ran over as fast as she could, trying to remember all that she could from her CPR training.

“Mary Grace: call 9-11 and then Dad, as fast as you can. Tell them what happened, and tell them where we are, and to get here ASAP.” My mom fired off instructions; she was now a general in her own war, fighting for something that couldn’t be more important to her. I wasn’t there to see what happened, but the story has left a disturbing permanent image in my head. My sister said she could sense the fear in my mother’s eyes, and the frenzy of everyone trying to help her, but having no power. As she repeatedly pushed on his delicate chest, exerting all of her energy onto him; he vomited, and began to breathe. Just as this happened, the paramedics arrived. Both relieved and shaken, my mom began to relax; she knew that she saved my brother’s life.

For a while after this incident, I remained furious at the neighbor girl who took off Owen’s life-vest. Not to her face, but I never really forgave her for her ignorance in the situation. I felt such an inconceivable variety of emotions. Not only was I more grateful than I had ever been in my life, I was crazed with anger at my neighbor. At the moment, when my emotions were still raw and authentic, I couldn’t help but be angry. I knew that she hadn’t meant for anything bad to happen, and that she was very sorry, but I just could not bring my self to accept it. She had all but snatched my innocent brother’s life right out from under him, and that was not something that I took lightly.

This event that took place on this day shook me, and gave me a sense of uncertainty, and anxiety. It gave me an unnerving feeling that on any normal day, in any common situation, my entire life could be twisted and turned around. As if I couldn’t control anything in my life. The adventures of that June day gave me more fear than I can sometimes handle, and more precaution than I would like; but the result saved my brother’s life. I cannot put my feelings of terror, panic, and relief away, as they still haunt me to this day.

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