Dear Baby L,
It’s been quite awhile since we were last together, yet it feels like yesterday. I was one of the sweaty paramedics in the back of the ambulance working as hard as I could to save another one of your family members that night. I was the one who took your limp body from the firefighter’s hands into my shaky arms. I’m one of those people who believe that my partner and I are a team, but ultimately you were my patient and my responsibility.
Just about every waking second since the night of that fire I have tortured myself over the fact that we couldn’t help you more. I’ve taken you everywhere with me. You were with me at the CISD. You’ve been there when I’ve dropped my kids off at school, you’ve been in line with me at the store, you’ve accompanied me to the lake when I’ve made attempts to get my head on straight, and you’ve visited me in my dreams. Oh sweety, how I really wish I could have done something more for you both.
Honestly, and this sounds harsh, I wish I could forget what your little face looked like that night. I wish I could see you as a happy toddler playing out in the yard with your siblings on that swingset or in that massive sandbox in the side yard. I would do just about anything so that your entire family could celebrate another one of your birthdays. I wish I could see you blowing out candles on a cake instead of the little boy with the horrible burns in the back of my truck. Unfortunately, I don’t get that luxury. My coworkers don’t. None of us do. It’s one of the hughest downfalls to working in EMS. We see what we see, and we’re supposed to just deal with it. Some of us are much better at it than others. For me, it’s been an issue since day one. What happened to you, and that family member, it was horribly tragic to say the least. And my thoughts and prayers will always be with your family. It’s impacted me to the point where I actually left a job and was ready to shred the medic card I worked so hard to obtain. I felt like you were truly haunting me. I felt like I was being sucker-punched every time I dared to forget what you had been through that night and then… remembered. It happened. What happened to you, it happened.
What I didn’t get until just recently was this: You are one of my ghosts. You deserve to be remembered. And not in a negative way.
I did… We did absolutely everything we could do for you that night, Sweetheart. We all worked just as hard on your Momma. I’ve poured over the run reports, I’ve talked to coworkers, supervisors, ER doctors and nurses, other bloggers, friends, fellow EMS folks… Just about anyone who would listen. What I figured out was this. We all did EVERYTHING we could. And in the end, unfortunately, we couldn’t control what happened to you any more than the Firefighters could initially control that fire. We all would have given anything so that the outcome would have been different. Believe me.
So, Baby L… Sweety. I will always have you with me. Always. So many people who you have never met will. We will always carry you with us. And we are all so unbelievably sorry for what happened to you. Just know this… And it’s selfish, I know. I can only speak for myself, but I know this is true. Horrible things are always going to happen, sometimes to the most innocent people in this world. People who have never wronged a person in their life. People who have yet to really live. And that is a nasty, horrible thing. There will always be things that will make us, as providers, spin for a little bit. You can’t work in EMS, or Fire, or Law Enforcement without encountering it from time to time. But we can’t torture ourselves over it, and we cannot allow us to let it define who we are. That would make us a little less than 100% there for the next person. The person who we CAN help.
You’ll always be with me. Always.