Pour one out for your hommies

Unfortunately, this post is appropriately titled. I received some bad news today about a friend of mine that died while lobster diving. Early news says it was a pulmonary embolism, which can, well, wreck your day. This hit me pretty hard and I am feeling uneasy about  this as this is my 3rd friend just this year. I have a very strange and weird relationship with death and no longer ask “why?”

Yoni- Knew this guy from high school and we used to surf together. Cool dude. Tattoo artist and had 2 kids and a wife he very much loved. I never knew he had issues, until I got the call that he threw himself off a bridge. How did I feel? Indifferent and sad. Sad that he went out that way. Not because he was dead, just because he had so much potential ahead of him.

Adam- A guy I grew up with. Surfed with. Worked with. Killed on his motorcycle when hit by a drunk driver. He was 25. Just started his own business and had a great girlfriend. I got a call from our former boss to tell me the news. How did I feel? Disbelief and anger. Angry that this woman pulled out in front of him and took him out. He was just getting going.

Shane- I’ve known Shane for about 8 years. He was a fellow firefighter for the city I worked in and he was my preceptor when I did my rotations during EMS/Fire school. I also worked with his wife on the night shift in the ER. In fact, I remember when they started dating and when they got married. I wish I could be half the man Shane was. I got the text message at work. In fact I was chatting with a friend when it rolled though. How do I feel? Really upset. A strange sadness has hit me.

Why would this death be different? Simple, the fire and emergency services community is like a gang. You cannot get out. Even if someone in that gang hates you, if you are in trouble, they would step up to help. Shane’s wife and I worked almost the same shift for 7 years. In fact we worked so well together, that we always made sure we were together, especially when we were assigned to trauma or “fast track.” We knew what needed to be done and we always had each others back. We were not BFF, but we were down. The kind of down that no words needed to be spoken. She was a constant supporter of anything I did, giving me words of encouragement. She also would break my balls if I stepped out of line and had no problem telling me what was up.

How does this relate to Shane? Simple, my friend fiercely loved him. The woman that had my back for 7 years is now in pain and I can do nothing about it. The medical examiner will not let her see his body. She is in pain and I feel for her. For once, all I can offer my friend is the same generic condolences we offered our patients… it kills me! I am getting to a point in my life where I am seriously thinking about my future in every possible way. What if my wife was taken from me, I wouldn’t want generic “I am sorry’s.” Plus, from day one in school you are told you will die. To die in service and with your brothers in the most honorable thing you can ever do. If you happen to make it to retirement, you will probably die from something you picked up during your term of service; cancer, mesothelioma, hepatitis, anything. Your death would be honored. To be taken out by a PE, that is tough one to take. It hits you with no consolation prize. No epic saga of your deeds. Robbed.

I do however, find it interesting that even though I have been away for 2 years, I still get the messages. My friends who are hurting, like me, reach out to those who will always be there as a support system. I haven’t talked to her in 2 years, but it doesn’t matter. Our professional relationship is a deeply rooted personal one. In that enviroment, the two are not seperate. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, where do we go from here. I want to let it out and move on. Though, it won’t happen now, it will happen when I am at the services and every fire fighter in the county is there. Dressed in their Class A’s as the bagpipes come down the isle. You want to see an entire room of grown men, fire fighters, cry? Just watch and listen as amazing grace is played through the pipes. That scares the shit out of me. Those tones are all too familiar. It is my mortal fear. Just to know that in the Fir Na Tine tradition, the pipes call our brother home. Below is a traditional send off. The way Shane and all other firefighters of honor get sent off. I could only be so lucky to have the pipes lead me home one day.

A wife has lost a husband. Community has lost a saint. A friend will weep for all.



Filed under Life

18 responses to “Pour one out for your hommies

  1. Oh.

    Oh, hon.

    Insert non-generic, I really am fucking teary-eyed, I would do anything to give you a big bear hug here.


    Thanks babe! I am mellow now, but will take you up on your offer Friday.

  2. I can practically hear the bagpipes from how clearly you conveyed this. And I’m awful in these sort of situations because I so wish I could come up with something that isn’t just the same ole same ole. I wish I could squeeze you. And my heart goes out to you and Shane’s family (blood and non-blood related).

    Thanks babe! It will be a rough few weeks for her coming up. I will see you Friday.

  3. This is just so awful to read. We can all slip away so fast. I am so sorry for you and your friend.

  4. k8

    JP? Remember my post about The Dead Guy? Well, all of them in fact. Don’t say a word. Just love and hug and be there and listen. You know? Words have no meaning to someone suffering from grief. You know that. I KNOW that you know that.

    Hang in there, my friend. It is never easy and it sucks. And sucks hard. Be kind to you. And to her. That’s all that will get you through.

  5. This was beautifully written and makes me want to appreciate even my bored life so much more.

  6. f.B

    No real words, man. Thoughts with you and your friend’s people and family.

  7. JP, I’m at a loss for word — so sorry for your loss.

  8. PQ

    You know I’m here.

  9. Oh friend I am so sorry to hear this. I know it can’t be easy to go through this. If you need to talk email me or catch me on gchat. I’m here.

  10. shit. i’m so sorry for you loss. hang in there.

  11. liferehab

    I’m so sorry. A friend of mine died a couple months ago and even though I hadn’t talked to her in years, it still hit me hard. Death can take you by surprise.

  12. Pingback: Donkey Kong doesn’t even know the scope of how on it is. « The Gospel of JP

  13. Marie

    Just read this. I’m not sure what to say other than I’m so sorry. So very, very sorry.

  14. Mags from TX

    Remember the good times. Call your friend and remember the good times together. Laugh and cry together. Hug her and she will know. THAT will get you through this.

    Then hug your wife.

    It makes me really sad that a fireman has to die for me to get to hear one of my favorite sounds: “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes.

    Hugs from Texas. mags

  15. Oh wow, JP.. there are no (non-generic) words for this. I’m hoping death will leave you alone for a while.. HUG !

  16. JPP

    Generic is all I got but I am so sorry for this tragedy. Death does rock you and force you to stop and think about life.

  17. Christ, babe. I’m just reading this now (sorry for absence), and a feel for you, and for everyone who knew him. Death fucking sucks and grief is such a roller coaster. Hang on, and take care of yourself.

  18. Pingback: Donkey Kong doesn’t even know the scope of how on it is.

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