Memories! 3 years ago. 0630 shift change. My oldest and I in the firehall kitchen.

Firehall mornings added a whole new level of stress but the kids took it in stride. I was already having to force myself out of bed to go to work and get there on time. And having to take the kids was such a heavy task. NOT because of them. But because I wasn’t functional.

I remember when this picture was taken. I remember how badly I wanted to walk out the door with the kids and never be seen again. Knowing the only reason I was smiling was because of her and Zander (youngest child, not pictured).

Behind the smile was complete dread of what the next 24 hours would hold. What trauma or death would we see, smell, hear, touch? Any dead babies this shift? Any one-of-a-kind incidents to mitigate on the fly? Any “holy shit, WTF?” traumas headed our way? Will we lose any brothers or sisters in blue or yellow? Any terrorist shit going it happen?

Would all my people make it home in one piece? Would any life altering things happen to their families while they were on duty? Any mental breakdowns to help with in the next 24 hours?

How much crap would I have to endure from above? What ridiculous drama was in store? What rumors and assumptions would be heard and followed up on like they were solid truth? How much of my actions or my co-workers actions would I have to defend to hypocrisy?

I was still passionate about helping make things better for the people we cared for in their time of need. I always will be. I miss that. But that was such a love/hate relationship with the job that was slowly killing me. A job I wish I could return to sometimes but know that it would eventually end my life. Because the trauma never actually leaves. You just learn to live with it.

Like I always say, I share these stories of mine for those who feel they are the only one feeling messed up and hopeless. You aren’t alone. My hope is that if anyone reading this and is struggling that you will reach out. Reach out to me. Call a hotline. Get some help from a trusted source. Anything. You don’t have to live everyday with these feeling and struggles. It can get better. I know it can because I’ve lived through it.


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