So you ask, "What's with the melancholy comment?" That's a legit question, bein' as it was Friday. ...and I didn't teach Saturday ...and there were supposed to be cool doin's at work.

The mood swing started in the morning when I called my assistant instructor to coordinate the transfer of the teaching materials for Saturday. He said he would be out of the station some of the morning as he was attending a funeral. It seems a daughter of one of the firefighters we work with was killed in an motor vehicle accident earlier this week. Her boyfriend was driving her home from a day trip when they ran into a vehicle that had stopped in a traffic lane of an Interstate Highway. It was night and the vehicle had no lights on. They never had a chance. The driver survived; she didn't. She was sixteen...

Ya' know, I did this stuff for years. So did Shelley. ...and it's hard to maintain a professional level of disconnect when it's someone you know or are close to. It's even harder as the years go by and some of the professional barriers you raise in self-defense are weathered away by the passage of time...

So, on with the day. ...until Mark walks in. a tie. Mark is our Canadian-born training officer; ties to him are like... Well, he doesn't wear them often. I asked what was up and he replied he was going to a funeral. WT?

...same funeral.

"Why?", I asked.


The boyfriend is the son of one of our EMTs. They live about a block away from me...

Okay, recover and move on. The hamburger feed went off well. Shelley came down and we had a good time reminiscing on the patio at the table with the other dinosaurs. Lots of memories and lots and lots of good stories to tell at a later time.

...and the day continues. ...and I find Kaycee's post about One Little Angel. (Randy warned me in his post, but it still got to me.)

So I finally leave, only to hear Kirk Franklin on the radio. The song is Lean on Me; the lyrics are here; the song is here. ...and that pretty much did it for me. ...and I get home and I read Al's post. ...and I think back to about how I got out when it was time and how the teaching gig has helped to buffer it. (So I wrote him a letter about it, figuring I could offer some perspective...)

So you ask again, "What's with the melancholy comment?" "Surely all of the above would make for some first class depression?"

Nah, that's not how I think about it at all. At one time I was the one picking up the battered bodies from the wrecks. ...and taking the cancer patients to and from their radiation treatments. ...and having a direct impact on people on the streets in dire straits.

I just miss it at times; that's the melancholy. I just remember all too well what those days were like. But there is a time to all things under Heaven... As another friend commented today about this (paraphrased):

Another thing that strikes me: ... the "old baseball pro" analogy -- We all still want to resist it, but we all have to become old pros. There's no way around it. (But there is such a thing -- so they say -- as retiring from the Show gracefully.)

Wise words... From one who knows well some prices paid...

So melancholy, rather than depression... Because the good news was also out there:

...the faces of the newest medic students at the barbecue. ...who'll be trained by those I trained.

...and people like Kaycee, who'll be able to bring a message of hope and love and peace every time she visits the ward.

...and people like Patti, who'll actually stop and help a stranger in need.

...and those of you out there who stop in from time to time. ...and can maybe take something home with you from this little community of the web.

04/08/2001 * || send comment