The aim of this study was to provide insight into family members' experiences related to cardiac arrest. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with 17 family members approximately 5-34 months after the cardiac arrest of a relative. As the focus was on the family members' experiences seen from a holistic perspective, content analysis was chosen for the study. When the event occurred to the patient, family members realized the need for assistance and managed to initiate first actions. When the emergency medical service arrived, family members responded to stress and forgot their own needs. When the staff took over at the hospital, family members not only received sympathy but also encountered professional distancing. Because their experiences vary widely, the encounter has to be developed through a comforting, sympathetic and respectful dialogue in consideration for individuals' preferences.