Monday, June 27, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

hangin in

Still on this roller coaster ride of emotions. And I want to kick them out of my body like a bad houseguest who has overstayed their welcome. Not sure when I will ever feel normal again. And I hate feeling fragile, vulnerable, and raw. What happened to this tough gal I once knew? Some moments are filled with extreme clarity and other moments I am numb to the bone. I hold on to my children and breathe in their sweetness and it calms me for the moment until they wriggle out of my arms and they scamper off to play. I try to seek solace at the gym, thinking that if I am breathless with exhaustion I won't be able to feel pain. But I guess pain reminds me that I am alive. And that I am living, and therefore going to survive this confusion and heartache. Maybe tomorrow will be the day I wake up and feel that the sun shines again. But then again I worry 'maybe not'.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

grief part deux

Tears won't stop and they are making me feel angry that I don't have the control over them. This lack of control is a tremendously odd feeling since control is the zone I like to live in, like the way I can control my breathing inside my mask when I am fighting a fire in the bowels of a building. I can't tame these emotions the way we try to tame a fire. I can't water my feelings down, or compartmentalize them into neat tiny packages to put away on a shelf or crush them in the garbage compactor. Even a vicious workout doesn't soothe me. My crewmate texts me words of encouragement and I am so grateful because it reminds me that someone is thinking of me. I battle between moments of a flood of tears and sparks of rage. And between the two, I suddenly feel alive, and hopeful, and trust that everything is going to be fine. And that it's ok to allow myself to feel the depths of sadness and anger and that I won't disintegrate like a wet Kleenex lying in the bottom of a puddle.

At least for the next 24 hours I can put my gameface on and be 100% secure in knowing that I can handle whatever call is thrown my way.
I am headed into shift. Time to wipe my eyes and take a deep breath.

It's showtime.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Grief. It's a loaded word. On the job, I have witnessed its many forms. Sometimes grief is the blood-curdling wail of a son who just lost his mother, or grief can be that blank thousand-yard stare of shock. I have seen people wander around in circles at calls, I have seen people curse, break things or just sit down and cry. And I feel helpless that there is nothing I can do to alleviate their pain except to offer my hand to hold, hand over a tissue, or give them a gentle nod of understanding, even though I will never completely understand what they are going through, simply because I am not them.

But in a way, I do know because I have been grieving the loss of something that I once so deeply believed in and now my world has gone upside down that there are moments I am not sure of anything, but then again this uncertainty has grounded me in living my life millisecond by millisecond, trusting and embracing whatever the future might hold for me.

I wish I could go into detail but the feelings are too sharp, too muddled and raw to explain. But in my grief, there is that ray of hopefulness that my life can only move forward in a positive way like it always has. Since my childhood, my father has told me I was born under a lucky star and I believe this. I do not believe in God, but I know there is a greater power and His/It/Her energy bathes me with a calming force.

I think the key to grief is to not fight it. To accept it for what it is and what it has to teach you, to feel it, bathe in it. And to let it give you strength. I cried for the first time in a decade in front of one of my crewmates. Not a huge cry, but the two tears that rolled down my face were enough to rattle me and my crewmate just a little bit but like every great firefighter, my colleague gave me that look of knowing and understanding. And in that look he gave me, I knew I had it in me to handle whatever comes my way.

So as I lie awake here tossing and turning mere hours before I start my next shift, I am saying a silent prayer of thanks to my crew, my beautiful children, and to all the people I have the privilege of helping every time the alarm sounds. In grief, there is that huge possibility of joy, and this is what I hold onto. xo