An area family could've spent this Easter holiday in mourning. They could've been remembering a family member, rather than laughing with them and they could've been a family of five rather than six.
Could've when their husband and father collapsed, his heart stopping on the basketball court.
Matt Krueger died March 2nd. Medically speaking his heart stopped.
"From the reports of the guys there, things went bad very quickly," said Krueger.
Krueger was playing basketball with a group of men at a church in St. Charles. He started feeling faint, then things went black.
With the help of an automated external defibrillator, commonly called an AED, teammates got Krueger's heart beating again.
"You know I remember seeing the guys around me praying and I remember their face was kind of white as a ghost and I actually remember telling them, thanks for praying for me and I actually remember giving somebody a high-five," he said.
Krueger's wife, Marina wasn't there when the accident happened. In their first encounter after, Krueger was up and talking, hardly dead like the latter report would show.
"I was floored," she said.
Floored then, grateful now. This Easter could've been anything but joyous for the Krueger family. A wife and four beautiful, young children could've been without a husband and father.
"I think every once in a while, it takes a moment to think about what life could've been like and at church I just said to him, do you realize how you were seconds or minutes from not being here," said Marina. "My family would've been trying to get to a new level of normal.
But that's not how the story was supposed to end. The Krueger family believes that. They also believe in how fragile life is.
"I can't even tell you how thankful I am that I get to be here and to be with my kids," said Matt. "Life can be that way. Sometimes things change in an instant. Maybe it's a diagnosis, maybe it's an accident, a job loss, there's all kinds of things that life throws at us."
So now, on this Easter, Matt Krueger can tell his story with a smile.
"Well we actually won a couple games so we went out on a high note."
And for a family, with a lifestyle based on the spiritual heart, they'll take a closer look at the physical heart now too.
Matt Krueger will be wearing a portable defibrillator system for some time. There's actually an AED being donated to Krueger's Genoa church in his name.
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