Wednesday, January 24

A Deep Hole to Dig

This is not a snarky post about a Medic getting too far off course at a call. Instead,  it is a chance to explain a moment in life I thought I was prepared for (spoiler alert, I wasn't) and that my friend is about to experience.


Death alone is bad enough, death of someone close is numbing, but the loss of a pet is different.

Hear me out.

We can speak to our loved ones, hear their dreams and wishes, play voicemails to hear their voices one more time and have vivid memories of their lives with us and without us around.  We hold elaborate ceremonies where other people prepare our deceased loved ones and allow us a chance to have a somber moment (or a party as my will demands).  Then we head out to a place known to contain the deceased and hold another ceremony.

Then we walk away, maybe passing by or stopping in for a few moments once a year on their birthday to say "hello."

It eases the grieving process for sure.


But that doesn't happen for a pet.  We confide in them things we would never dream of telling other humans.  They see us at our best and our worst, always with a wagging tail or a "bark" or "meow" of acknowledgement.  Our pets are our friends.  No one disagrees.

When a pet dies or, in the case of our cat Cleo, begins a rapid decline in health rendering them a shadow of their previous self, we think grieving for humans prepares us for what comes next.

I have dealt with scores of death notifications, knowing I would be the first step in someone's grieving process, but nothing prepared me for what I had to do when Cleo died at 16.5 years old.

There was no funeral home to call to handle the tough stuff.

I picked her up and put her in the box, wrapped in a towel, then went out to the backyard.  Not the cemetery where you can prepare for what comes next, but the place were we play.

I got a shovel and set out digging a hole.  Not the largest hole I've ever dug, for sure, but the deepest.  Every time the shovel struck the wet dirt my mind recalled a moment with the little kitten I got in Paramedic School.  Or the way she cuddled at the foot of our bed on cold SF nights.  Or the way she initially wasn't sure what to think of the newborn, then would be known as "the second alarm" and jump up on the changing table when baby would cry.

I knew I was crying.  I figured I would, but that was the deepest hole I ever dug.  It was 16 and a half years of memories deep.


Today my friend is going through something very similar and I wish I could help dig that hole, but I can't.

Thursday, January 18

Education and the Three Disciplines: Where do You Fit?

The Crossover Show - 138

In this episode, MC and HM discuss education for the three disciplines.

Are you a rookie or looking to get hired? They’ll tell you what to study and why.

Are you in the middle like HM is…10 years to go and feel stuck? They’ll steer you right.

Can you see the finish line? Less than a year to go like MC? Is school worth it? Listen and find out!


Black Mirror on Netflix

Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff by Chip Gaines

Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

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Source: the Crossover Show

Thursday, January 11

Happy 2018, Y’all!

The Crossover Show - 137

Happy 2018!

In this episode the Police and the Fireman catch up on events since they saw each other before the holidays.

They cover holiday shenanigans, events, kid trouble…you name it. Unless you spent New Years Eve in a strip club.  The boys had a few weeks off and end the show with an actual topic! Amazing!

This episode is dedicated to Pete Miramontes. Your fight was well fought, sir. You’ve earned your rest. Your family and your legacy are secure.


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Source: the Crossover Show

Tuesday, January 9

CHP Officer Andrew Camilleri's Family on the first day back at school

California Highway Patrol Officer Andrew Camilleri was struck and killed on a freeway in Northern California on Christmas Eve. Less than 1 year in the uniform I'd like to imagine his wife and young children were at least exposed to the love and brotherhood of the law enforcement family. If they weren't they sure are now.

Henry Lee from Fox KTVU, @HenryKLee on twitter, shared some video of the Camilleri children being escorted to school on the first day back after losing their dad. I've seen this a few times, mainly with older kids and prom, but there's an image Mr Lee shared on his KTVU site that not only hit me square in the chest it had me wiping my eyes.


The hustle in his step to ensure the wife of a man he knew less than a year didn't get rained on while dropping her kids off at school.  Some may say it's just a kind gesture but this photo struck me at my core.


This photo made me wonder who would hold the umbrella for Mrs HM if I fell.  For Mrs MC if he fell...and then the tears.  The simplest gesture became a profound moment not just of kindness but of exactly what the thin blue line on that flag represents.  It means that "just because he's gone doesn't mean we are too."

I look at this picture and I don't see Policemen escorting a family to school, I see a family... All of them together bound by loss doing everything they can to carry on.

Take a minute and just look at this photo.  Then go hug your kids.  Then go hug your spouse.  Then go put on your uniform and do what you love.  Then repeat.