If you are married to a first responder of any kind, then you have probably had one of "those" gut-wrenching moments. One of the moments where your heart feels like it's on fire. It begins to pound so violently with fear that you feel like it is literally going to come out of your chest. Your hands become sweaty. Your legs suddenly become limp. I have had a few of these moments thus far in my husband's firefighting/EMT career. There was the time I received a text that he was at a bomb threat with no response from him after the initial text until the next day. There was also the time he was on shift and I heard that horrific and violent protests were going on and that those on shift were preparing to be on scene. There was also the morning where he did not return home when he usually does and I could not make contact with him - come to find out, at that time, he was held over to work another shift.
Fortunately, since the scare of the bomb threat text, he guards my heart from a lot of panic. The times where he is heading into burning buildings. The times when he is present on the scene where violence has/is occurring. The times where he is working on gunshot victims, pulling bodies from a burning building, drug overdoses, car fires, helping abused children, dealing with rape victims, or well, you get the point. First responders see SO much, day in and day out. When I say "first responders," I know that my mind cannot even begin to grasp all that our police and firefighters/EMT's see on a daily basis.
But, for now, I want to encourage YOU - the wife of a first responder:
It is NOT easy knowing that your husband, the father of your children, your soulmate, your best friend is risking their life for someone else. It is NOT easy wondering what they are dealing with for those 24 hours straight (or whatever shift your man has). We CAN pray, trust, and try to be strong for our children. We can also continue to work hard when they are gone to give them less to worry about while on shift. “Hold down the fort!” We chose this life together and while it can be scary, it can also be so rewarding. We can be the one to help our spouse mentally prepare for their next shift. We can be their sounding board when they have different traumas or frustrations they need to get off their chest. We can be patient when they are running on no sleep.
We must try to be patient with them and remember that what they see is not always something we can grasp. I cannot imagine pulling a body out of a burning building of someone who is barely breathing and burned so badly you can not identify them. I cannot imagine holding the hand of a child who just saw one of their parents get shot.
The world can be a cruel, cruel place - so let us work together and support one another to create a home environment that feels safe, warm, and secure for our first responders. A place they do not have to worry about when they are on shift.
I am praying for you tonight and always. I am excited about the thought of creating a safe space for us to support one another.
I want to leave you with this poem by Tammi Conway called "The Life of a Fireman's Wife" - but this is for all first responder wives - you are ALL important, treasured, and valued. And police wives - you have a whole different level of things they have to deal with, and boy do we applaud YOU. My husband has NOTHING but respect and kind things to say about our police officers. They often protect him when he is working on a dangerous scene, so thank YOU.
"Every time I hear the sirens wail
Lizzy Christian received her Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling - Crisis Response and Trauma from Liberty University's Graduate School. Lizzy started her career as a High school Athletic Director and transferred over as a School Counselor to follow her passion for helping the hurting. She is married to a Firefighter/EMT who is working toward his last few phases of becoming a Paramedic. Liz is a contributing writer to Start Marriage Right and was also published with Relevant Magazine.