I don’t want to go to work this afternoon. I don’t want to have to multitask or compartmentalize. It’s really all I know. It’s how I operate. I take care of everyone. I tell them where to go and what to do and how to do it. I hold their hands and walk them through the most difficult moments of their lives. I make sure emergency services get where they need to go to help the people they need to help. I give them vital information so they can save the day. It’s a thankless and draining existence.
I say existence and not job because it’s not a job to me. It’s my life. I take it home with me. I dream about the 6yo child left home alone with only his 4yo sibling, crying to me on the phone while his mother was nowhere to be found. I remember the anger I felt when she was finally located at the bar down the street an hour later.
I keep the voices with me, tucked safely in my soul. I know when my units are in distress or need backup merely by the inflection in their voices and the rapid way their breath catches the radio. My fingers fly across the keyboard and my pulse quickens and I steady my voice and enlist backup. It’s imperative that I remain calm in the face of uncertainty. For if I can’t keep calm, how can I calm them?
But for me, I just need to be able to let everything go sometimes. To unload and remove the burdens that weigh down my already heavy frame. To not have to be “on” all the time. Just for a little while. To be held and comforted and made to feel protected. But who protects the protectors? Who cares for the caretakers?