Friday, December 18, 2015

A Letter From a Fire Wife, to a Fire Wife

Dear Julie,

I know you don't know me, but at the same time you know me better than some of my closest friends.

You know how I juggle practices and games, with homework and chores - on my own a third of the time. You know how I sleep in my bed alone every third night. You know how I plan everything by counting days in threes. My friends listen to me fuss, but they don't really know. You understand how powerful that Daley day is to the family, just as we plan on breathing on PO days. You know me. You know why I hate this picture, even though you don't know me.

You know how grateful I am to catch that phone call while he's on shift or to hear the keys on the counter when he comes in the door. You don't know me, but you totally do.

We all say that we can't even imagine, but the truth is, we all have. We have all imagined. Every FireWife has had that thought of "What if?"  And then we shove it back into its dark hiding place because that is how we survive.  Now you are living and know what we most fear to face. We know that your heart is breaking. We know how your dreams have been torn to shreds by carelessness. We know.

You know me. You know how it was to meet the love of your life so young, just as I did. You know what the faces look like when you tell people you got married at 22, just like I do. I know you.

You are living our greatest fears. You are the reason why having them work on Christmas Eve is really not that big of a deal. You are heartbroken. And we mourn, right there with you.

I am just over the border. MFD, CFD, fire departments around the world...we grieve together. I know that will not stop your heart from hurting. I know that will not give you the answers when the questions from the kids come. I know that Christmastime will always leave you trying to catch your breath when you least expect it. I know. I know birthdays and holidays and weddings and babies will never be as you ever imagined while you were dreaming your dreams.

I know.

But, please know, you are never alone. You truly have the whole family of firefighters and those of waiting for them to come home surrounding with love from near and far. Know, you only need to say the word and we will be there with anything you might need. Having dear friends in the CFD world, I will quickly come down and grab them along the way if whatever you need will make you breathe a bit easier, while you try to learn to breathe alone. 

You are never alone.

We will bring Santa and sing caroles. We will bring food and fold laundry, We will listen to you however you see necessary. We will tell the world to leave you alone. We will rake the leaves that did not get swept up. You just say the word.

Please know, we are all here. We are family. You know us. From one FireWife to another, we are all here. There is a sisterhood that is forged by fire...and it is stronger than the rest of the world can image. Send me a note, let me know what I can do. Please know...

I have watched in amazement at your grace and read your letter and admired the strength that it must have taken to write that through the tears. I am sending you love, support, prayers and hope.

You don't know me. But you do. Just as I don't know you, and yet I do. I know you are hurting. I know you will be angry. I know this will never go away, completely. But, please know, you are never alone. We will walk with you, just say the word.

In love, peace and support,
Wife of Jeff - MFD FF/PM/TEMS

Photo credit - ABC 7 - Chicago

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