Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Today I am grateful for firefighters. How can you watch the horrible fires in California without being grateful for every single one of them, no matter where you live?
I don’t know how you survive that trauma. It’s one thing to have one house burned down, but entire cities? When we would have a family from the school I worked at lose their home to fire, dozens of accommodations were made to help them cope. Food chains, clothing drives, gift cards and special bus status came out of nowhere. Everyone wanted to help. Empathy was ratchetted up to high levels, because no one wanted to think about what it would be like to lose everything.
But when everyone loses everything, who is left to put an arm around you and tell you they will help? The need is too great. The scope is too huge. While firefighters are out there beating the flames of Hell for everyone else, their homes are burning to the ground. It is beyond comprehension for most of us.
To hear that the suicide rate among first responders is way up, while horrible, is not really surprising if you think about it. The human spirit can only take so much. People who enter the service industry as nurses, police, caretakers, first responders, firefighters, etc., etc., etc., do so because they want to help people. Intellectually they might know that they do a lot, that they’ve done all they could, but it will often feel inadequate because of their natural character. Emotionally nothing is worse for them than feeling helpless. Suicide, to some of them, seems like their best option. How sad. How very, very sad.
I have never witnessed a fire is so hot that the metal from cars melts and flows down the road like molten lava. I have never heard about entire towns disappearing in the flames. Even words are inadequate at times like this. But they are all I have.
The mama hen in me wants to scoop up all the first responders, stroke their brows, hug their weary bodies and tell them I appreciate every single second of their efforts. All of them.