Calling the Code - a coping mechanism in 14 lines

It all started simply enough – a usual day at the station house. We checked in, we checked out the rig, we did our station duties and filled out the logbook; we looked up our duty roster for the day and we even started working on CE’s. There are mornings that the calls come right away, and days you actually get to unpack your gear; some days you might even be able to have a cup of coffee and relax for a bit – but the calls always come. When the calls come, you never know what it’s going to be when you get there or what you’re going to see. You don’t know whether the person you’ll be dealing with even wants you there, or if someone else called on their behalf. You don’t know whether it’s a life-or-death situation, or a stubbed toe. None of that matters. When the calls come, we roll.

Some days you never forget. Some cases stay with you throughout an entire career; you may never remember a name, or a date, but you always remember the faces. A blur of activity, a rush of frantic haste, and then the silence that comes at the end of a futile race to a foregone conclusion. And at the center of it all, one calm, still, angelic face.

When it all comes crashing down on us, how do we cope? How do the comforters ask for comfort? How do you bear the unbearable? Some of us write letters, write articles, or write blogs. Some of us talk. Some of us cry. Some of us punch walls; some of us turn inward and turn mean. Some of us drink. Some of us do some combination of all of these things and more.

Some of us – as silly as it seems – well, we write poetry.


I see her as I'd wish, this stranger's child.
Her smile alive, her childhood still intact,
her purity of skin left undefiled.
The trace of time's caress could not detract
from beauty that was hers by birth and right.
I see her thus. Not as I saw her last,
surrounded by the remnants of my fight
to bring her back - her final struggle past.
Pale lips curved, an enigmatic smile.
Those lips I vainly sealed with mine to breathe
the life back into her. So for a while
I stood -- abashed, exhausted and bereaved,
silenced, for all my furious battle, lost --
Compelled by those who live to hide that cost.

Ted D.

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