We All Have A Firefighter Inside Us

July 8, 2020 — Leave a comment

My dad would have turned 68 today.

We’ll get more into that in a minute, but let me overshare first.

Yesterday I wrote two posts about my physical health journey over the past several months. How it’s been going and some things that I’ve found helpful. Last night, however, I made pretty terrible choices. I ended up having three brandy old fashioneds and then ate a bunch of junk food, including, but not limited to, a warm tortilla with Nutella inside. (Side note: THAT WAS AMAZING.)

There was really no reason for it. At least that I was aware of.

Then I woke-up at 3:30am and remembered…today is my dad’s birthday.

Sometimes I think our bodies remember trauma even before our minds do. This has happened to me so many times in my life that I have to believe it’s true. Days where I’ll be sad “for no reason” and then Facebook reminds me it’s the anniversary of a death or difficult memory. Have you ever had that experience?

This situation also reminds me of something my therapist said once and it’s stuck with me ever since. She said (and I’m paraphrasing), “We all have a firefighter inside us. And their only job is to put out the fire of pain from trauma. A firefighter’s job is to put out a fire. Doesn’t matter if it’s a motor home or a mansion, if it’s filled with garbage or precious artifacts, their job is to put the fire out, period. Lots of stuff will be ruined in the process, but that’s not their concern. They are also not responsible for the aftermath, the clean-up. They go in, put the fire out, and leave. It’s the same with us. When we experience pain, our firefighter has one job: to end it. And they’ll do so by any means necessary, with no concern for the peripheral damage. Overeating, drinking too much, drugs, sex, violence, risky behavior, solitude…whatever it takes. And then YOU have to deal with the consequences. But, you’re not feeling that initial pain anymore! Instead, you’re overweight or driving drunk or getting arrested for any number of things. That’s why it’s so important that we do our best to recognize pain and seek to soothe it in healthy ways. But knowing this, we can also be more forgiving when we soothe our pain in unhealthy ways.”

So, I’m not dismissing or defending my behavior, but I do feel like I understand it. And I would never ever advocate for anyone to soothe their pain in unhealthy ways, but I also understand the trepidation of discovering and facing your pain head-on. But, you’re brave and I know you can do it. I promise I will, too.

In other news…yeah, Happy Birthday, Dad!

He would have been 68. I went and visited him at the cemetery this morning and it was so beautiful. It actually rained so hard on my drive there that I almost turned around. I’m glad I didn’t, though!

I think I miss our banter the most. Just talking about the Brewers/Badgers/Packers. I have NO idea how he would have dealt with what’s been happening the last few months, so those conversations would have been amazing! I also miss watching him interact with my kids. They loved him so much. And he was such a great grandpa. He would be SO inappropriate with them! lol I’m trying to carry on that tradition in his stead.

Sigh. I just miss him.

Oh, and don’t let me forget to get a piece of carrot cake later today.


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I'm a husband, a father, an author, a speaker, a friend...all kinds of things, actually.

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