Thursday, January 9, 2020

It's All About The Heroes

(I posted the first version of this post on January 9, 2014; I'm using it 6 years later, once again, as a Day After entry. If it moves you, go out of your way to thank someone who keeps you safe.)
In the telling and retelling of the story of my perforation, there is one question that is always asked: "Did it hurt?"

My answer is always the same:"Not until the paramedic said, 'Hang on, Ma'am, this is really gonna hurt,' just before he plunged a needle into my knee."

This is the story of how I we met again, exactly three years later.
photo by The Firefighter
There have been anniversary celebrations and commemorations and speeches and films and discussions and bell ringings and flag raisings and I can't imagine that any of them were as moving as the simple event outside the Pima County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday morning.

TBG and I arrived a few minutes before 10am.  There was a shiny (is there really any other kind?) firetruck, parked, crisp and straight as the firefighters and battalion chiefs and fire chiefs and sheriff's deputies and local police who milled about, before taking up their positions in a semi-circle to the left of the flagpole.

Footsteps... in cadence.... drums... and then the bagpipes came into view.  They stood, silently, beside the hands-clasped-in-front-of-them first responders.

Silently, as we all sat on , from 10am til 10:10... watching the shiny bell and the firefighter behind it... reliving the morning in my head....

Now Gabby's getting out of the car.
"Look at that - she accessorizes and you could too, y'know!"
Now we are getting into an orderly line, according to the sign in sheet.
"Of course you can  fill out the form.  You are a constituent. You'll get mail.  
Yes, real mail, addressed to you."

Out of nowhere, at 10:10 am, there was an unexpected noise.bA bell. It went through me the way the bullets did; 19 times it rang. I saw pictures in my head of each and every one of those humans.

I held Faith's hand on one side and TBG's on the other as the flag was raised and the pipes played Amazing Grace and I noticed nothing but us, bound together, until TBG suggested that we stand up and I realized that we were the only ones still seated.  

As one, we rose, and were embraced by the others behind us and before us and all over the city, doing the same thing.  It was teary and it was wonderful and it was brief.

Perfect. Only, it gets better.

We went into the library to see the small-but-touching display case filled with memorabilia from the spontaneous memorials which sprung up around Tucson three years ago.  After hugging all who needed such attentions, we made ready to leave.

One of the pipers approached me as we approached the door. He didn't want to intrude. He didn't want to keep me. He just wanted to tell me that he was the medic who worked on me that day.

"YOU are 'Hang on, Ma'am, this is really gonna hurt?'"

"Yes, Ma'am, and I'm so sorry."
It took me a minute or two to stop crying and hugging him and thanking him for saving my life and sharing him with the world's most grateful husband who had tears in his eyes before I paused and asked him why in the world he was sorry?

"Because I hurt you.  I don't like to hurt my patients."

Is it any wonder I love this town?

My always-and-forever-in-his-debt husband and I spent the next few minutes reassuring him that honesty was the best policy, that I was very very glad he had told the truth about what to expect, that I had never for one moment expressed any anger towards him, that he was the focal point of my what-it-was-like-that-morning story, and that stewing over it. or anything else,  for three years was something never to be repeated.  

I couldn't help it.  It was guilt in a kilt speaking to the Jewish Mother within. We loved him.  We loved him before we knew him.  We would always love him.

I told him that seeing my son graduate from law school, seeing my daughter marry, being here to hug him right now, all of that was possible only because he had rescued me.

Sorry doesn't enter into it at all. A whole lot of THANK YOU does, though. 

For sure.

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