Having a dozen years on, I would say that I have seen my fair share of stuff. I have seen lives begin and end, little and big fires, tragedies averted leading to people becoming heroes. Not long ago I was helping teach a Firefighter 1 class when I put a 100′ shoulder load as part of a 400′ hand line on a trainee’s shoulder. It was hot out towards the end of the morning, so everyone was a little gassed, we run the evolution, and she looks at me and says sir, that was heavy. My rebuttal confused her as it was certainly out of context, “If you only knew how heavy this job could be.”
She had no clue about the weight that you may have to carry around for doing what we all love to do. Most of my vivid memories from calls are the worst, loved ones that need help, nasty car wrecks, fatal fires, whatever it may have been. We all
carry things around from what we’ve done; you have to find a way to let it out. Go to the gym, spend time with family and friends, play your favorite sport, do whatever it is that you enjoy.
The small amount of great “happy” memories is why I do what we do though. I love making a difference for the better in
someone’s life. Whether it’s something as small as oiling a ladies wheelchair tire, so it doesn’t squeak to something as massive as making a grab, those are the reasons I do this. To me, the bad times are easily outweighed by the kind smiles, and a simple thank you, even if they are few and far between. Cherish them when they happen, whether you’ve made a new friend, helped an old one out or simply just did a good deed for someone by going the extra mile. Those memories will stay with you longer than anything else.
There are many resources on the web and around your locality that can help you if you are struggling with something. Don’t feel ashamed or scared, let someone help you, talk to someone. Often enough just talking to someone can take that weight off of your shoulders.