Something to Hide Behind
Sometimes there is a case that touches me more than the others, as a paramedic we are often involved in people's lives in tragic circumstances and times of stress. I have learnt over the years to provide empathy and support but to keep myself emotionally distant, yet sometimes the pain from others can seep into your psyche. One of the hardest things about my job is seeing how other people live and knowing that there isn't anything I can do about it.
I had a first hand reminder this week from the bravest little boy I have ever met, he put himself on the line to protect his younger siblings and because of that their lives - I hope - will be much safer. When asked what he wanted to bring with him to hospital he picked one thing - a simple paper mask he had drawn. Watching this child run bravely all the way to the ambulance, roaring with delight and wearing his angry face mask, helped me recognise the difference a mask can make. That paper mask was a representation of what we all subconsciously do; present the face of our choosing to the world. For some it gives confidence and courage to be brave, to fight the demons; for others it provides a safe place to hide.
A very brave little boy reminded me that I can't change the world, I can't fix everybody, I can't stop bad things from happening to good people. But I can be kind in those few moments that fate allows us to meet, and realise that the kind words and smile I can provide may become a very important memory for that person; affirmation that someone once cared. Although my heart swells with emotion and my mind races with confusion, I can hold on to that memory of that little boy and his paper mask and remember the difference I can make.