How well do we really know one another?
Think about your parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, friends, etc… How well do you really know them?
Do you know what they believe and why?
Do you know the lessons they learned in life?
Do you know their success and failures and how it impacted them?
Do you know the multitude of experiences and relationships that make that person who they are?
Last Spring I started writing and sharing the stories of my life, but I struggled with it. Not because I couldn’t write, or that I have nothing to say, or that I am worried about what others might say or think.
No, I struggled because I did not have a concrete ‘Why’ to give to my voice.
This Summer I was reminded of a few people in my life that had passed away over the past few years, and I got to thinking about how much I didn’t know about them.
Then I thought about my Grandparents and Great Grandparents and while I have memories of experiences with them, I realized that I really don’t know much about who they were in life.
I started thinking about my own parents, and if they were to pass away tomorrow, how much I really don’t know about their lives.
After nearly 20 years working in EMS, I know all too well that tomorrow is not guaranteed.
I saw it over and over again.
A car accident, heart attack, stroke, homicide, random trauma, etc…
Each time we say ‘Bye’ to a loved one, we never know if could be the last time we see them.
My experience working in the back of an ambulance has given me a unique perspective on life. I know I look at things different than most other people because I got to be a witness to the worst days in people lives over and over again.
I remember one call where I was talking a patient to hospice care and she began to tell me about her life in East Germany after the War. How as a little girl her family crossed through the Back Forest into West Germany while soldiers took shots at them as they ran, and not all of her family made it to the other side. She told me so many other stories of her life, and I was on the edge of my seat for all of them because this woman lived an amazing life.
When I mentioned how proud her family must be of her and all she experienced and overcame, she told me that they don’t know about the stuff she told me because it wasn’t important.
I often think about that day, that patient, and how much her family never knew about her.
Our own mortality is not something that most of us want to think about, but every day you, or your loved one, walks out that door could be be the last.
I think about my two little boys and what if something was to happen to me tomorrow. They would have little to no memory of me and who I was.
Someday I am going to move on from this world. It could be tomorrow, it could be 40 years from now.
When that time comes, I want my boys to have a record of who their Dad was, what he believed in, what moved him or inspired him, and just the day to day stories of his life.
What if something happened to you tomorrow?
What have you left behind for your loved ones to remember you by?
This is my ‘Why’ and the voice I struggled to look for.