Tuesday, March 31, 2020

True work


We haven't seen our son, nor spoken to him much. He's emotionally hunkered down, the way he gets when things are hard, the way he was during the brutal boot camp that was the fire academy. He was less like that during paramedic school, although that was hard, too. But the learning excited him, felt intuitive and native to him.

Meanwhile, our daughter's four-person team at the non-profit has now raised almost three million dollars to feed the city's hungry. She works the phones from home every day, capturing donations from corporate givers. Then at night, she paints botanical watercolors, working out her technique. She says it calms her.

I once read that the activity that feels most deeply peaceful to you is your true play, and that which excites you, makes your heart leap with joy at the challenge it brings, is your true work. It would seem my son is where he is supposed to be in terms of work. Unfortunately, he can't get much of his true play right now, which appears to be rock climbing. He is such a tersely physical being, such a contrast to his sister, who can roam quite happily inside her own head.

Our son is picking up every overtime shift he can and doing what he can in this pandemic ravaged city. People who go into the kind of work he has chosen don't waste much energy on being afraid for themselves personally. They feel a mission to help the ones who are endangered, even at the expense of themselves. But it takes a toll. "How are you doing, son?" I texted him yesterday. "Fine, the usual," he texted back. Hunkered down.

Last night on the news, someone said that health care workers and first responders will be suffering from PTSD when this pandemic finally eases its stranglehold. In our city right now, they are fighting to save the sick and the dying in a war zone, bombs falling all around them, nothing hyperbolic about that.



17 comments:

  1. Your children are wonderkids, frontline workers. Thank you to your whole family.

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  2. They are both superheroes during this unprecedented, scary times. I think about your son, especially, so very much.

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  3. I worry about your son and your family. There will be a lot of PTSD after this wave passes. I think the world will be changed forever too. I hope your son talks to his girlfriend; we all need to get stuff out of our heads. Take care.

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  4. I echo the thanks above! Hugs to them and you.

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  5. I do think that some people are just born as warriors. Your son is one of those. He never wavered in his goal to become a first responder. He is absolutely the man he was born to be although I would not wish that on any mother or partner but where would this world be without people like him- so determined, so pure of effort, so strong in their desire to help others?
    Try so very hard not to worry constantly. He is doing the work he was obviously born to do and there is nothing in this world you could have done to deter him.
    He knows that you and his father love him and are proud of him.
    I hope he knows that there are others out here who admire him fiercely.

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  6. Sending love to you. Your son and daughter are dear to me. They both are sharing their gifts generously in these difficult times. We all have gifts that are needed now.

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  7. I am so thankful for people like your son who are the ones we look to in times of crisis. And like your daughter, who helps the helpless. You must be incredibly proud of both of them.

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  8. What was said above, more eloquently than I can do. Blessings on your wonderful children and on you who raised them so well.

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  9. It seems like too much, but who am I to say? Be well.

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  10. A dear friend of mine has a daughter who is also on the front lines as a paramedic. That can't get adequate PPE or N95 masks. It's a constant struggle. I hope your son is able to come through the other side well intact, knowing that he did he job to help people. And your daughter, well, she's a champion raising all that money. Bravo to them both.

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  11. I've been praying for your son. Every report I hear on the news about what is going on in NYC reminds me. I hope you all will stay well. My son is no longer going home. A friend has a guest house near where he picks up most of his shifts. So between shifts he goes there and self isolates. He doesn't say much about what he sees. I'm sure they all will have PSTD when this is all over. I hope they form support groups together until they all heal. Stay safe. Stay well.

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  12. Woke up this morning and thought of your son while listening to latest. In this funny old world we can be so lightly connected to others in the ephemera of cyberspace. Certain people make an impression and a thought about them crosses your mind during times that relate to something in their lives and spirits. I know you hold fast to the blessing that is the family you've all built.
    Needs of others have and will continue to take a very serious toll on medical community,first responders, researchers and those not often thought about. Custodians, nurse assistants, hospital transport, etc. who I fear aren't being sufficiently protected and certainly aren't compensated equal to the risks they're taking.
    Best thoughts for you and your family. You shine light in corners you'll never know about. Thank you.

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  13. I think of you and your family everyday. Your children have taken paths that make them both hardworking heroes. I send them so much love and gratitude. I would love to see some of your daughter's watercolors. Beauty is the balance to these times. Please take care there and stay safe and well.

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  14. your son and daughter are both committed to helping people. they didn't get that way on their own. good job mom and dad. I do hope your son stays well.

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  15. I can imagine this would create PTSD in first responders. Such an unbelievable time. We all owe your children and all the many people like them so much. (And we owe you for raising them so well!)

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  16. Hi sweetie, I have been so very worried about you in such a harsh crisis that you are in. Bless your sweet son for making this better for all who encounters him. He is such a young man.

    Day before yesterday I got most of my sight back. Today is my first real day on the computer. The first thing I did was to read yours and Steve Reed's blog! I'm sorry I was gone for so long. It was jut terrible not being able to really communicate. I have another month before my next surgery. Talk to you soon... Beth

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  17. I admire all the workers out there on the front line allowing us to stay home and feel safe. The NHS here in the UK do an amazing job, but it's everyone else too, from delivery drivers, refuse collectors, shop keepers, postal service etc. Where would we be without them?

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