Death doesn’t take a holiday

Another page that didn’t make it into my new book, AKissB4UGo.

I live down the street from a fire station — at any time of the day or night sirens ring out and jack up my blood pressure.  This used cause me great anxiety. I would wait to see if the fire engine or ambulance was going to pull up outside of my house. If I was coming home and the sirens were wailing, I would increase my pace down the street until I came to my corner, fully expecting to see my apartment ablaze, thronged with flashing lights and unfurling hoses.

My oldest neighbors were a couple in their late 80s. She was one of Patti’s favorites and was now had advanced Alzheimer’s. I came home to find her being taken away by this ambulance while her husband stood bewildered on the sidewalk. I felt that they were mirroring my own situation. Fortunately it was a minor incident and she came home in a few days. But then, a couple of weeks later, Arthur had a stroke and died on the living room floor. Two deaths in our building in as many months.

Fortunately, my siren anxiety has faded and gone. I no longer fear the worst, having been through it.

10 thoughts on “Death doesn’t take a holiday”

  1. You’ve reminded me of my own fear of fire engines and/or ambulances that I suffered many years ago. I had witnessed a raging neighborhood fire when I was about four and I lived in dread of house fires long afterwards. Thank goodness that faded through the years, but I certainly understand your own reaction to them. I’m glad it has eased somewhat for you!


  2. I used to work for the D.O.C. in Connecticut and I had to go inside ambulances that would blare the sirens while I was escorting a sick inmate to the hospital. It used to trigger memories of my father being taken away by ambulance due to his motorcycle accident. He had sustained head injuries and subsequently would take rides in that ambulance all the time. He’d come home from the hospital, and we’d think he was okay, only to be taken back by ambulance either that night or the very next morning. Head injuries are tough to deal with and back in the early 1980s as they didn’t know much about head trauma.

    I’m sorry you had to experience that.


  3. Oh, Danny… so understandable, the fear of such. After Neil’s death in 2002, the sight of a crime investigation van in town or a police car would suddenly turn me to jello. That went on for a few years, I think. So glad you have moved past that, and not so prone to those fears. I can so relate to that feeling that one has been through the worst, so now not that much is scary. You’ve had a hard, hard time of it. You and your wonderful son. I’m so glad you’ve had each other to grow and heal!


  4. Quite scary and I’m glad your fear has eased somewhat. While I can’t say I’ve had such a personal experience, I do experience a fearful shudder within my core any time I see or hear an ambulance racing towards its destination. I usually say a silent prayer for whoever they’re assisting and hope there won’t be a fatality.


  5. It was great to read that others have that same feeling over the noise of a siren. I lost my mum when I was 20 and my little brother 2 years later. Now 40, I still cry when an emergency vehicle goes screaming past. To think that someone else is losing a loved one and in emotional pain really gets my emotions welling up. The pain never you feel when losing a loved one never goes away, but you do learn to live with it and find ways to manage it. I have had your book on pre-order for a few months now, hopefully it arrives this week – all the way down under here in New Zealand!


  6. Fearless having experienced the worst: I’ve been there. But once I again had something to lose, the fear returned in waves. Trauma can change the brain, rewire it. Naming the fear tends to render it toothless.


      1. Thank you. Visible texture and color have always inspired me, but I’ve tried my hand at drawing, painting, and sculpting and have been convinced that words are my indigenous medium. Your drawings charm me and pique a bit of envy.


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