Even though we all know death will come for us eventually, it’s not on our minds the majority of the time. Some folks, however, have had an uncomfortably close brush with the Grim Reaper. Here are 10 stories from people who narrowly missed death.
10. Please, please, don’t dive into the shallow end of a pool
My “I survived” moment happened when I was fourteen. Playing around the pool my friends and I were playing Marco Polo. I was out of the water trying to get away from being tagged by my friend. “Fish outa water!” he screams, I dove head first with my arms by my sides into the shallow four and a half end of my pool.
I awoke later that night in the hospital not able to move anything: legs, arms, lungs (on a ventilator at that time) scared with no answers.
Twenty-four years later I still don’t know what I was thinking doing that. I’m now in a wheelchair with most of my mobility intact. I’m depressed at times about the incident but I can say “I survived!“
9. A difficult family life
When I was 5 or 6 my oldest cousin (15 at the time) walked into my room while I was laying down and smothered me. She held me down, put a pillow over my face and sat on my chest while she tried to snuff the life out of me. And she almost succeeded. I lost consciousness and woke up to my grandmother and aunt (cousins mom) timing my pulse and screaming that they may need an ambulance.
This would become a theme with her. The adults caught her crushing pills and mixing it into my food one night. After that I was told to Never eat or drink anything she gave me. I had to be with an adult 24/7 or shed attack me. When i couldn’t swim she pushed me into the in ground pool and went inside. I almost drowned.
That entire side of my family was extremely abusive and were deep in the drug trade. Cops were never called for anything. She was heavily abused by her dad and I assume took her anger out on me. My bio dad was abusive in his own ways but no where near as awful as her dad so I can see how that would make her snap.
She had a sad life and has been missing since 2012.
8. Five bullets
When I was 8 my biological father came to my house in east Texas with his brothers pistol from his safe. He had bipolar disorder and after physically and mentally abusing my mother for the past two years after their divorce he snapped and decided he was done with her. It was supposed to be only my mother, my two sisters, and I in the house, but my mother called my grandfather who had the flu at the time to come to our house even though he lived two hours away.
My father came to the door and my grandfather answered, he told my father to go home but he refused, my mother came to the door and my father pulled out a pistol and they wrestled on the front porch which ended up with my grandfather getting shot where his appendix would be. The gun didn’t rack itself I assume because they were all holding the gun when he pulled the trigger so he wasn’t able to fire again. After he shot he dropped the gun and ran.
He wasn’t expecting any resistance or for anyone to be there to protect us, he only brought five bullets, and planned on using all five, one for my mom, 2 for my sisters, one for me, and the last for himself.
I had no intervention in the situation and slept through the whole thing. I had no idea that when I went to sleep that night it very well could have been my last. He only got sentenced to twenty years for assault with a deadly weapon because my grandfather survived. He’s 11 years in and is eligible for parole. I still like to think of it as an “I survived” story even though I wasn’t able to do anything to prevent it.
7. Pirate ambush
Working as a merchant navy officer.
Our vessel was about 60 nautical miles away from Somalia, our way was through the sea of Aden and into the Mediterranean from the Suez Canal. It was my shift at the time, 1600 to 2000 hrs. It was a calm afternoon.
As we approached the sea of Aden we were ambushed by two large boats from starboard(the right side of the ship). Around 20 Somali pirates (10 and 10 on each boat) attacked us. Some of them had AK’47s and fires immediately at the bridge. We had armed mercenaries on board, so we were protected, but nevertheless, in danger.
A stray bullet flew straight into the bridge (even to this day, I can’t even understand how that happened) and got me on my lower left leg. A burning sensation rushed through my body, I lost a lot of blood. Our armed security drove the pirates away with no casualties, and I got immediate health care from the captain and the 2nd officer.
I survived, and now I have a good story to tell.
6. Always check your mirrors
This just happened on Saturday night. I was at a friends with with a few of my friends and it was pretty late so we decide to take off.
Right when we get in the car another one of our friends calls and she sounds hammered and on the verge of crying. She says shes drunk in the city and her phones at 1% so of course I tell her well come get her. So I’m driving down I55 into Chicago and at one point the 4 lane highway splits.
I’m going left at the fork but in the right lane and I’m looking at my mirror to go into the left lane. The second I look up I realize there was a guy that was going right at the fork who changed his mind last minute and was less than an inch from smashing right into me but luckily I already began switching lanes.
Everyone in the car was screaming and I casually kept singing the song on the radio. My friend in the passenger seat went quite for a second and then said “let’s never talk about that.”
Turns out the guy actually grazed my bumper but it isnt really damaged at all. He was clearly drunk.
5. Oleander is surprisingly dangerous
When I was 5, we moved into a house where a massive oleander bush was growing over the fence. Oleander flowers littered the lawn. I played with them and then went inside, had something to eat, and played with my sisters for a bit.
Next thing I remember, I’m in a doctor’s office. I’m shivering and I ask for a blanket. The doctor puts a sheet of the paper that they use to cover the bed over me. They explain to my parents that I’m going to be fine and I can be taken home.
When I was a bit older (10 yrs), my mother told me that I had been telling her that my chest hurt and I couldn’t breathe, and she grew concerned enough to take me to the ER. I had fallen asleep in the car ans stayed asleep until waking up in the doc’s office.
I googled it and read that Oleander is incredibly poisonous and works by paralyzing the respiratory system. Just one oleander flower can kill a horse. People have died from using oleander branches to roast food when camping. I had gotten pretty severaly poisoned just by eating food with oleander residue on my hands. If I had bitten or eaten just a bit of the flower (which I very easily could have done since I was a dumbass that often ate random things), I would have died pretty quickly.
So… yeah… I survived.
4. A solid case for arachnophobia
Back when I was about six years old, my family lived in a house with a large hill behind it. There was a lot of dry brush back there, but enough clear ground to make it an ideal setting for games of make-believe involving mazes, labyrinth-like fortresses, or curiously well-lit sewer systems. I got to know the area so well that I scarcely needed to look where I was walking, and I’d frequently rush around without paying too much attention to my surroundings.
As a result, I have absolutely no idea where my assailant came from.
One afternoon, while I was using a stick to fight imaginary monsters, I felt a sharp sting on the side of my neck. I quickly slapped and squished whatever had attacked me, then went back to my quest, more irritated by the interruption than actually hurt. It wasn’t until later in the evening that I gave the assault a second thought, when my parents – who had noticed the wound – scolded me for picking at what they assumed was a mosquito bite.
“You need to keep your fingers off it,” my mother told me. “It already looks like it’s getting infected.”
I insisted that I hadn’t touched my neck, but nobody believed me… and I continued to receive admonishments over the course of the next two days. During that time, a growing section of my skin started to look like it was literally rotting away, which prompted a number of home remedies to be attempted. When none of them seemed to have any effect, I was finally brought to the hospital.
The nurse took one look at my neck and called for the doctor.
The doctor took one look at my neck, expressed his disbelief, and called for the surgeon.
The surgeon took one look at my neck, booked an operating room, and told my parents that I’d be going under the knife inside of an hour.
I’ve since been told that the progression of the venom – an unwanted gift from a brown recluse spider – had come dangerously close to entering my bloodstream. Had there been any further delay in excising the lesion… well, it might not have ended well for me. I still have a rather large scar on my neck (along with an acute case of arachnophobia), and I’ve learned to be much more diligent about examining those places where I might encounter a web.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get any spider-based superpowers, so I still feel like I got ripped off.
TL;DR: I was assaulted by a brown recluse spider. The wound went untreated for three days.
3. A close shave on ice
I’m an avid skier (former instructor) and one night while skiing (they use lighting on the mountain at night), there was a nearly invisible patch of ice across an entire corner/bend on a trail that I usually hit around 35-50mph depending on the day.
After a long day of instructing, most of us would have some drinks/tokes and go shred for a bit. So I was barely tipsy, zooming down the slopes and I hit this corner and immediately hear one of the scariest sounds in skiing. The sound of your edges sliding across ice, with almost zero traction
Now normally, a good skier has razor sharp edges to catch almost any surface, but after instructing for days/weeks your edges are dull af due to use and beginners running into your skies. So I’m now painfully aware of the ledge to my left and how it goes a significant way down the mountain, with rocks & trees & ice, plus no hope of help until my family decides I’ve gone missing at some unholy hour (it was already about 8pm).
So in those few seconds I contemplated a slow, cold death or frostbite at the very least while leaning into my turn so hard that my right leg was at a 30 degree angle to the ground.
I managed to catch a small snow-pile that other people had pushed to the edge and cut all my momentum as I threw myself down. You don’t want to immediately fall at those speeds because you will just slide right off or seriously injure yourself by catching an edge and tearing a muscle, etc.
Adrenaline was pumping and those few moments felt longer than the 9+ hours of skiing that day. But i survived. The isolation was the scary part.
2. Rip currents are no joke
I was living in Central America for a winter in my mid 20s. I made friends with a local family who had twin boys, around 18 years old. We had a beach day with a bunch of friends and family.
Everything was great, lots of us were playing in the surf and the waves were pretty intense but the water was only neck deep, so no big deal. Suddenly, I looked around and realized we were 50-100 yards out into the ocean, with the water very deep, I assume it was a rip current. I was fine, I’m very comfortable swimming but neither of the boys knew how to swim apparently.
Everyone was able to swim parallel to shore and get out of the current except one of the boys, who was silent with wide eyes and softly said: “Ayudame” or help me before he disappeared underwater. I was pretty tired from fighting the current but I couldn’t leave him. I was able to find him underwater pretty quickly. He was awake and kind of stunned and still, but never fought me thankfully. I started swimming backward towards shore but couldn’t swim fast enough against the current and we kept getting pulled out. Another friend swam closer and helped me time my swimming with the waves to save energy. I was beyond exhausted however and seriously considered needing to leave him so save myself. Somehow I kept going and finally felt sand under my feet and we were able to crawl up out of the water.
He rested for a while and was ok. I had to lie on the beach for 20-30 min and had the most intense heart palpitations I’ve ever felt. He thanked me profusely after of course and all was well. I have always felt tremendously guilty for seriously considering leaving him to drown so I could live. Scariest moment of my life for sure.
1. Don’t ignore tornado warnings
I was 7 when my mother attempted to race a tornado because she didn’t want to turn around and go back to her friend’s house to seek shelter in the basement. We were literally like a block or two away from their house and had just said goodbye as the tornado warning for the county we had to drive into (and our current county) was issued (about a 10-15 minute drive.) The weatherman on the radio was frantic saying typical stuff like it’s a very dangerous storm, get out of the car, do not try to outrun a tornado, get out of mobile homes and seek shelter in ditches, etc.
My family is full of idiots. She called me names when I started crying because I was scared and had me lean out the window to look for the funnel, and, because I was out of other options, I did. The sky went green, we were the only car on the road. It started raining hard and I couldn’t see shit. I thought about jumping out of the car and running back into the house or into a ditch but she was driving too fast on the highway and wouldn’t slow down.
About 10-15 minutes later we did drive through where the tornado had touched down, trees and powerlines were down, there was storm damage and hail/fog still on the road. We had narrowly missed it when it touched down and went back up minutes before we moved into the area.
I pissed myself in terror that day but I survived.