Today I am sewing another pair of pants. A pair of pants in a pile of many that are torn, have holes worn through, and hems that have completely let go.
With each stitch I sew I am wondering; “When did this hem come un-done?” Did it come un-done when my husband was getting into the police truck? His step weighted down by his duty belt, his kevlar vest, and his broad shoulders that willingly carry the burdens of others? Or was it when he chased on foot the man who had just brutally assaulted his wife? He was running after him because this man punched him and took off claiming he “wasn’t done”.
Maybe it was when he was pushed backwards down a flight of stairs after bending down to help up a child who was left unattended and alone at a house party that had gotten out of control? Or maybe it happened when he ran into a burning building without hesitation to ensure the children who were inside playing with matches had gotten out? It could have been when he climbed inside of a smoking car at the scene of an accident to cut a man free from his seatbelt bringing him to safety at the side of the road while shielding him from the sight of his deceased wife… wait, no, it couldn’t have been then. That happened when we were on vacation. He wasn’t even on duty that day, but that didn’t matter. That never matters.
When you are called you are called 24/7. It doesn’t matter if it is Christmas day or any other holiday, their child’s first birthday or their wedding anniversary, in any moment ‘the called’ will be there for you and for your family, leaving behind their own.
I suppose this hem could have come un-done when he was playing street hockey with some kids in town during a quiet afternoon. Or it could have even unraveled at the hand of a child who was sitting on the floor beside him after a DARE class. The little boy wanted to talk and got his attention by pulling at the cuff of his pants…
As the moments pass and I continue to sew I am overcome with emotion. Suddenly my hands are trembling in anger, confusion, desperation, and sadness and my thoughts shift; “I suppose it doesn’t matter how the hem came un-done, what matters is that I still have to sew his pants”. Today my husband will need his pants. Today duty will call and he will gladly serve. Today he needs to go out that door into the unknown and protect our community. Today my heart will ache at the unknown from the time the door closes and he walks out, until it opens again and he walks through it into my waiting arms. Today I will worry about him more than ever. Today my fear has increased because once again a monster has threatened our well being; – mine, yours, my husband’s, everyone’s. Today there is another First Responder spouse who is mourning an unimaginable, earth shattering, life altering, utterly senseless loss… learning she will never have to sew her husband’s pants ever again. Today she learned that she has to say goodbye. Today, other First Responders will be dealing with sights, sounds and carnage that takes a terrible toll on the human soul and spirit, on themselves and their families.
Another tear falls down my face as I realize that today I am not just sewing “another pair of pants”. Today I am trying to stitch my world back together after my sense of safety has once again been shaken. Today I mourn with my fellow spouse and spouses. Today just as I hold these pants in my hand I hold a piece of every single First Responder and every one of their family members across Canada in my heart. They are an extension of my family and they are my family. They are my husband, and my two brothers. They are some of my closest friends and confidents. They are my neighbours. They are my family away from home, and wherever I go, they are there.
Everyday, Police Officers, Fire Fighters and Emergency Medical Services, all over the country are working hard to help ensure that you are safe, rescued or treated. Today and every day these men and women are what stand’s between you and a very scary, rapidly unraveling world. As I take this all in and although my heart is very heavy, I am also beaming with pride. I am beaming with pride because at the end of the day the evil in this world will not win. I know that even if the hem in their pants comes un-done, THEY WILL NOT. “Together we are strong, together we are fierce, together we stand”.