There's something that doesn't happen when you tell people you work in EMS. They don't roll their eyes, groan and say something like "Ugh...why???". You see, I've never had to defend my position. To most, it's a noble, thankless job that most people will come in contact with at some point in their lives. The day I received my first EMT card, I was 17, my dad had a teddy bear wrapped up in different bandages, balloons and a card sent to me while he was at work. He took pride in both his children signing on to public service at a young age. It's something that will always be in my blood.
When the Major got sick and things progressed, I promised him I would go back to school and provide a great life for Tink. I would show her that you can do anything you put your mind to. That you can overcome difficult times. I would better myself and live life. I would be thankful for the opportunity to do so.
I really thought I had settled on Emergency Management. That was, until I had to take all the new NIMS courses I had missed while in Alaska. Just short of stabbing a dull pencil into my eye, I came to the realization that just wasn't going to be my passion. I really didn't have the time to go to Medic school...not with everything that was happening and a little girl who needed me.
We spent so much time in the hospital, living there when things were really bad, that I knew it top to bottom, and almost every hallway and garden. The people working there became my friends, and the military personnel became our new military family. These people got me through. They helped me survive. I'm not exaggerating. They literally took care of me at times when I refused to take care of myself. They recognized things before I went off the deep end. They kept my head above water when I was sinking. No one ever told me I was handling it wrong. No one ever made me buck up and get over it. They just opened their arms and their hearts, and then poured out love and understanding. I only had people saying "How can I help?" not, "How can I fix it? Fix you?". I knew when we came home on Hospice what I was meant to do. What good might possibly come from being my husband's advocate for so long.
I was thrilled to be accepted into a social work program that has a great reputation. Being in EMS for the past 11 years, a stay at home mom and wife, I really wasn't sure I would. A lot of people were happy for me. But what I wasn't expecting was the question of "why?".
The first eye roll and groan came from an officer I used to work with when I was a dispatcher. And then I got the question "Why don't you just come back and go to the academy?". He knew that was a dream of mine, but sometimes we give things up for our children. I'm a single parent. I can't take the risk of being a police officer. I was really taken aback by someone questioning me wanting to help others going through what I had.
Over the last couple of months I have been getting that reaction more frequently. Eye rolls, groans, snide comments. People seem to think I'm becoming a psychologist. I'm not looking to analyze anyone. I'm not looking to fix anyone. What I hope to do is fight for those who can't fight for themselves. Speak for those who have no voice, or who have no idea what to say. I want to be a safe person for people to come to. I have nothing but love for those who helped us. I know there is a need, especially among our military population, for someone who "gets it". For someone who won't judge. Someone who has the drive and determination to get things done. Someone who doesn't take no for an answer. Someone who knows the system. Someone who has lived through it.
So even though I am putting EMS on the back burner for now, that doesn't mean I'm not doing something I find equally important. Making a difference is all I want to do. It's what I PLAN to do. I know I don't have to explain myself to anyone. I do, however feel the need to clarify. Just like EMS, it's not about money, thank-you's, or what I get out of it. It's about being the hand to pull someone up, the one to hopefully keep someone else from sinking.