By Gramps for CrossDove Writers

            Coming out of an emotionally unsettling Christmas, I was finally getting back to a somewhat normal place in my daily existence which meant I was watching football – something I love to relax doing.

            After witnessing a couple of tantalizing collegiate games earlier in the day, I began to watch one of the most talked about games of the NFL season – the Buffalo Bills at the Cincinnati Bengals.

            I was excited because I am a huge Josh Allen and Joe Burrow fan, plus I love how the former Husker quarterback, Zack Taylor, was continuing to have success as a head coach.

            But then it happened. The play toward the back end of the first quarter.

            After making a strong defensive stop on a pass play, the Buffalo Bill’s defensive back Damar Hamlin fell to the ground in a way that it seemed as if a spirit had left his body as it went limp, falling backwards to the turf.

            The moment it happened, before any other speculation had a chance to begin – I knew exactly what had happened.

            I knew that the young man had literally died right there on the football field among his teammates and football friends and family.

            At the moment which I saw Damar Hamlin collapse, I knew – I felt – I got emotional – I got scared!!

            I knew!! I knew what had happened because the way his body just fell away or went limp – was exactly how my body went just a hair over 10 years ago on November 27, 2012!

            That was the day my neighbor rushed me to the hospital instead of helping me deliver some important bills to be paid because as a paramedic I diagnosed my condition and took control, racing me to the emergency area of our local facility just minutes before I literally and physically DIED for several minutes.

            I knew what was happening as they worked to revive him as I plainly remembered the day when I went into Code Blue in our local ER and then opened my eyes wondering why the lady was pounding on my chest and hearing her tell her colleagues that I was back – back from where is what I remember asking. Death is what they answered.

            The way Damar Hamlin’s body went limp, I literally could tell it was not just an injury but instead something much more important – it was the young man literally dying there on the field amongst his teammates.

            I felt it!! I felt the pause in my entire body as I watched it all transpire, knowing what those medical folks were doing on the field well hidden by the players of both the Bills and Bengals as they surrounded the situation in a way to shield the fans and video makers from truly watching what was happening before them.

            I got emotional!! I got emotional because it truly is the only thing I can do when watching something like this happen to someone else, something which I know from having experienced the moment myself.

            I got emotional because the moment made me think of my adult children, my grandkids, my great grandkids, my siblings and extended family as well as those numerous friends throughout the world who would have to deal with life beyond me if that had been me and if I were not to have survived.

            I got scared!! I got scared because of the many times a week in which I feel something happening within my own human body machine that makes me wonder if it is my heart, my lungs, or something else.

            I relived the scariness of that day just over 10 years ago knowing what my wife, my adult children, my grandkids went through for those first several hours – not knowing if I would be surviving to share in another day with them.

            I relived the feeling of scary when thinking about how they all would handle it if it happened again only this time maybe I did not survive.

            One thing I can tell you – Monday evening, as this all transpired on the football field in Cincinnati, there were likely hundreds of thousands of others just like me who relived a life threatening and maybe even a death experience while reliving all the anxiety, fears and truth that goes with such experiences.

            This morning as the sports media folks discuss over and over a wide variety of issues involving what happened – I choose to take a moment and take several deep breaths as I reflect on my strong belief and wonder of my God or Great Spirits. I choose to look toward the hope, faith and grace which that belief brings me in my daily walk of life, for if not for that hope, faith and grace – I am not sure I could overcome the many health concerns, mental and psychological concerns and family concerns I have and live with on a daily basis.

            May we all keep the Damar Hamlin family, his teammates and football family in our own version of prayers and meditations, hoping that they all find the faith, hope and grace in the moment and lean on that same faith, hope and grace in what transpires in the days ahead.

            With that – hugs, prayers, blessings, and happy thoughts from Grumpy Gramps.

(Copyright@2023, CrossDove Writers – no part of this posting may be printed, copied, or used without written permission by CrossDove Writers and Grumpy Gramps.)