My husband left for work today. That statement seems mild enough, except when he left for work I was aggravated. I woke up to the light on in the living room and my first thought was, if he wakes up that baby I’m going to be so mad. I got up and went to check on him and there in the dark was my husband, my hero, my firefighter dressed for duty holding our 6 month old nephew and feeding him a bottle in the dark so he would fall back asleep before he went into duty. The sight melted my heart.
He left with a quick kiss on my forehead just as I was dozing back asleep and with that he was gone. Really? Can’t you let me sleep…… As I laid there it hit me, today the day….that awful day 14 years ago. I know for my husband its a bitter reminder that in his line of work, he just may not come home tomorrow. I also know he lost friends that day and brothers and its one of the many things that I as his wife and many wives of firefighters will never truly understand. Although he was probably letting me sleep, he was also making sure he kissed that sweet baby goodbye and his wife. What he doesn’t know and probably will never know is the sick feeling we wives get every year on this day.
How many wives rolled over and fell back asleep or didn’t even wake that morning only to hear of the horrific events just a few short hours later. How many children had no idea when daddy went to work that day he would give his life trying to save others. The reality of this breaks my heart for these families every year on this day.
I have learned to live with the missed anniversaries and birthdays. I have learned to live with and appreciate the passion he has for the job. I have learned to accept that holidays do not matter because its the call of duty and people need first responders even on Christmas day. I am beginning to understand that when hurricanes hit, or any other type of weather issues that it is my husbands job to respond and be on call. But I will never ever feel completely safe when my husband is on duty.
Ill never forget the day, the one time I left my phone for a few hours only to pick up to 28 messages from friends and family that he was on the news doing a sink hole rescue. Its not like you can call or text and expect them to take the time to answer, this is a matter of life and death. We made a deal years ago to not call me on his way to fire, only to let me know he was OK after, because it used to eat me up knowing he was in danger and I didn’t know what was going on. Ignorance is bliss. So shame on me this morning for just wanted to be able to sleep.
Being a firefighter isn’t just a job for my husband, its his life, its who he is and his fellow firefighters are his brothers and sisters, they are his family. I used to think is was sad he never had a son of his own, until I realized he has many many sons, the boys who are now men that over 29 years he has trained, for he is not “just a firefighter”(As though that in itself is an amazing profession) He is the instructor as well, and he takes that job with just as much love and passion as his first line of work. On many occasions he is intensely listening to an podcast on fire rescue or reading the latest tactic training and making sure his guys are always trained and prepared for the call of duty. He is always learning, always training always willing to meet any kid who’s parents call because their son wants to be a firefighter. This is not his job, this is his passion; one that I can not even begin to understand. His crew are not his crew they are his sons and brothers. Although he was born as the only son, he has brothers all over the world.
I have learned from his voice when its been a bad day or call and not to think it needy when he just wants to say good night and hear my voice before going to bed, because his bad day at the office isn’t loosing a deal or getting yelled at by a client, his bad day is pulling babies out of cars and trying to tell the parents they didn’t make it. For example, the one time he searched and searched for an elderly father in a burning house while the daughter is screaming to save him, but to know avail. The most amazing part is he never has said that to me, instead he listens to me complain, cry or have a fit over whatever the drama maybe happening and calmly talks me down and listens to whats going on, only to never ever say…..”Really, that’s all you got? I just had 3 fatalities”
He is the calm in my storm, the rock, he is my best friend, my husband, an amazing father to our children….but first and foremost, he is a Firefighter. So when that alarm goes off or the emergency comes he puts on his gear, enters the truck and goes. When most people are running out, they are running in, because that’s what they do, when duty calls.