“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
― Fred Rogers
I woke up in the middle of the night and made the mistake of picking up my phone. While I waited for the dogs, I checked what was new. One of my friends had a post where she talked about her first job as a radiologic technologist and the things she saw in her early career.
This put my mind into overtime. The good part of that was I now knew what I would write about today. I would write about the caregivers but add my twist about something I always questioned when I was working. Who takes care of the caregivers?
As I began to write, my story began to change. That’s not unusual. These past few months of writing my blogs, the stories often take on a voice of their own. Today was no exception. What I’d planned moved aside to let another voice speak.
The message? What about those unintentional caregivers? You know–those people who were there to see and hear and be part of this three-day music festival.
If we, those of us who were and are healthcare workers and providers, have our own worst memories thrusting themselves into our minds, how do these people who just happened to be at the wrong place at the right time deal with all they are feeling?
We’ve all read each other’s stories of when this happened and when that happened when we were working. BUT, we were trained on how to deal with what came down that hallway. Our stories of those long days or nights are like what these everyday people experienced in the first two minutes of this attack.
These courageous people did not run away. In fact, from what I have heard and read, many actually helped one person and returned to help more. What many saw and experienced that night had only been seen and endured before by trained soldiers on battlefields.
Compared to the stories they could tell us, mine are like first-grade show-and-tell.
There were many times in my career when I went home questioning who would listen to me and help me understand the pain and suffering I’d witnessed that day. These brave souls did unbelievable things. Who will listen to them and help them understand what they saw and felt? Who will help them find the words to get all the images out of their heads?
If you know someone who was there, treat them with extra care. Give them the time they need to talk. Help them find help so they can begin to heal. The images they saw will be with them forever. If there was ever a need for a very large special care therapy center, it is now. Unfortunately, even if it could happen, it will never happen.
Let’s do what we can as individuals. Be aware that there are even more people among us who need our kindness and prayers. Please be gentle with these novice caregivers who answered the cries they heard in the panic that night.
I believe in angels. I believe angels flew close to the earth that night, helping the helpers help.
Please, God, bless them all.
I love you.