I want to honor those who survived and those who have made it possible for these folks to be alive and to move on with their lives. These "First Responders" are truly heroes. I see them as folks who are responsible (by choice) for saving lives.
I have had a group of first responders near me most of my life. They may only touch my life long enough to pull me out of crisis, to long-term - keeping me safe and helping me heal.
This group includes the following -
Eve - She taught me how to mother; how to make time to play with my children, how to come to my children's cries with "dry hands." She taught me how to dance in the rain, how to laugh. She taught me the importance of mammograms and self-exams, thus saving my life; neglecting this eventually took her life.
Anne and Renea - When the going gets tough, the tough creates - and these women saved me by nurturing my creativity.
Karin ae - She gave me language to thoughts that had no words. She taught me how to write, how to validate my voice. She taught me how to live in my authenticity, how to think deep and be comfortable with that. She saved my life and my voice when I thought it was leaving me - by sharing her truth with me. She listened, she listens. She teaches me about moving forward.
Debby - She shared her world with me - teaching me the fine arts of quilting and life in the south, and she saved my life by catching me when I needed to run.
Shirlene - She taught me how to laugh with myself. She saved my life by laughing with me, and crying with me. She taught me how to be true. She gave me laughs in the darkest of times.
Marv - He took a chance with me, and we have been best friends ever since. His favorite word is "competent," and he trusts me, because I am competent. He taught me, "It is what it is." He teaches me that life is about progress - moving forward.
Cody - She pushes me. She saves me daily by teaching me to trust her, and I do. She teaches me, “Never be ashamed of a scar. It only means you are stronger than what tried to hurt you.”
David - He taught me I was "worth more." He taught me by sharing his knowledge of the business world and his male-based creative writing with me. He taught me about being resilient.
Cortney - He taught me about relationships. He keeps me young.
Nick - He taught me how to trust the camera. This lesson has been important as I learn to let go of fear, to not be afraid.
Scott - He teaches me daily. He adores me. I am the most important thing/person in the world. Through him I am learning I can be loved, I am loveable. He saved me by saving himself; he has taught me about unconditional love. He is my first-responder and stick-with-it-forever responder. He has taught me to have "more heart" and "Love is stronger than terror." He is a portrait of holding the ones he loves close. He has taught me I don't need to be strong alone, that we can be stronger together.
Jenna - She saved me by allowing me to rear my best friend - she is my gift. She was my first-responder with my cancer announcement. She kept me out of the cancer mode by sharing her daily life with me. When we were together, I was not a breast cancer patient; I was Mom.
John Banse, April 15, 2013, Boston Marathon Survivor said, "My soul is so full of gratitude that there is no room in me for sadness, anger, or fear." Because of the first responders in my life, I can say the same.