Dear First Responders,
It's no doubt that many regular citizens will never quite grasp your daily reality. We can't honestly say we "know how it feels" to be the first person to respond to a gruesome, heart wrenching scene, or even begin to fathom the idea of working so hard to save a life, only to turn to the hopeful family with an "I'm so sorry.." We can't paint an image detailed enough of what it's like to walk in the front door after a 12 to 24 hour shift and try to pretend to be normal, when today you've held a dying child, you saw a family's house burn down, or you sat with a woman whose husband just won't stop beating her. We can't even ask enough questions to try to understand how it must feel to be covered in chills when the call comes in from a screaming woman who witnessed a car crash and only sees blood. We can't pump enough adrenaline to compare to the feeling of your heart beating as you are the first to walk to the shards of metal that used to be a car, only to see red covered windows and know that someone either lost their life or are close to it.
While we aren't ever going to understand how you do it or what you feel, we CAN say thank you. Thank you for choosing to use your hands to hold onto a scared patient as they are wheeled into surgery.
Thank you for using your arms to carry hurting people when they can't carry themselves.
Thank you for using your words to brighten someones day or make them laugh in the worst parts of their lives.
Thank you for using your time to help patients even though you're supposed to be on lunch. Thank you for using your life to bravely save the lives of others. We see the long hours, the hard days, and the bravery that goes into being a first responder, and we appreciate you. Without you, our world would be a very different place.