On Tuesday morning I was randomly cleaning out my voice mails on my cell phone. I didn't even realize that I had been subconsciously hoarding voice mails from my firefighter.
I played a few and noticed there was one in particular that took my breath away. The voice mail from his fellow brother Brett who was out on the Cobb Fire with him during the Napa/Sonoma Fires. I remember the dread of seeing the voice mail come up on my phone and my fire wife brain thinking the worst possible outcome. At the time, I hadn't heard from D for 48 hours. I remember checking findmyphone over and over again and there was no signal on his phone. D knows all too well of my spiral tendencies so he found a phone that had signal and used it to call us.
The voicemail was simple: Hey, babe. We're ok, we're tired. This fire is insane. Don't worry. I'll call you when I can. I love you.
That was all I needed. He was safe.
I didn't really think about it until later in the evening when we were hearing about what happened in Porterville. A fire captain and a firefighter, killed in a fire. When a firefighter dies I immediately think of their family. And I thought right away about the voice mails that I had been checking earlier in the day. I wonder if the fallen brothers families kept any voice mails. I wonder what they have to get them through today, this week, this new life, without their hero. I hope they have a counselor, or a priest, or whatever they need to help them grieve. I don't think you ever fully process a loss in the fire family. Even though we did not know them personally, it ate at us.
We never know when our last day on this earth will be. No one ever knows when their time will come. A fire family death has a way of giving me a good a$$ kick to remind me to focus but also, to keep the stuff that makes me feel better and might help me get through a particularly tough day when I need to hear my husband's voice.
I won't be deleting those voice mails. Ever.
Hug your firefighter a little tighter this week. Every day that ours come home safe, is a gift.
Rest easy, Captain and FF. We pray for your families.