They don’t just rescue cats from trees……nor do they just sleep at the fire station!
He is the one rushing into a burning home while others are running to safety
He is the one holding your hand while the others work to cut you from the wreckage
He is the one on the other end of your emergency phone call, the one you are relying on to save you and sometimes the one you are telling your last wishes too
He is a firefighter, this is his job and this is his life’s passion
I married into this life to become not just his wife but to become the support he needs, the one he de-briefs to and the shoulder he cries on when the shift is over.
As he leaves for each shift my mind can’t help but wander throughout the hours, hoping he is safe and that he will come home to the kids and I after the shift is finished. I hope the phone call never comes that something has gone wrong, the anxiety I feel is always there.
Being the wife of a firefighter, I experience all the highs and the lows alongside him, I listen to the stories from his shift helping him to talk it out. The only difference being is that I don’t see with my eyes what he sees with his, but I know when the outcome has not been positive I can see it in his eyes and on his face when he walks through the door.
There are no words needed as it is that look, that look is the understanding between us, built up over the years, and I know not to push, that he will talk in his own time. Sometimes he does, but sometimes he doesn’t, he holds it in wanting to protect me from the reality of life.
When he comes home and he hugs our children or stands watching them sleep or sends a quick text message telling them he loves them and that he is proud of them, as his family, we know what that means.
Some days I feel helpless, there are no words to heal his pain or erase his memories of the horrors he has seen in his career – all I can do is love him and understand.
This is my normal and has been for 28 years now and there is no instruction manual when you marry this firefighter, no manual to tell me what to say or how to understand, instead it is something that evolves over the years spent together and the stories shared.
The men and women that do this job, choose this career, are selfless, courageous and honourable they endure pain we could never understand, see things that we could never imagine, images that they will never erase from their minds.
Given the disasters we are experiencing right now, the hundreds of emergency personnel that are working tirelessly to save lives, homes and businesses please know that behind everyone of you is that support person, that person that cares and that person that you can talk to that just understands.