In this job grief is a household name. We see it day in and day out. Most of us deal with it fairly well. I can deal with people dying. I can deal with running a code on someone that was just talking to me. I can deal with the dead teen, mangled in the little red sports car that Mommy and Daddy just bought for them. What I have always had a hard time dealing with is other people's grief, those that are left behind. Like the young wife that is just realizing that her husband of less than a year is dead.
We are called out to an unresponsive, unknown cause. En route we are advised that CPR instructions are being given to the caller. Shit. From the driveway we can hear what sounds like a banshee screaming somewhere inside. We walk in to find the young woman holding her late husband and wailing. While my partner pulls the woman aside, I take a look at him. Not breathing, no pulses and the beginnings of lividity. I attach the leads and run my strip. He's dead. I'm sorry I tell her. I can't stand the look in her eye's begging me to tell her this is all just a dream. I gather my equipment and walk back to the truck, careful not to touch anything because I know this will be a medical examiner case with the cops in tow. I call the doc and he agrees with our decision not to resuscitate, then the supervisor to get the ball rolling. Eventually the house is full. Cops, a detective, the ME, and family. The wife is inconsolable. I feel the tears start to well up in my eyes and have to turn away and walk outside. I light up a cigarette and try to banish the feelings that are coming. I wonder, does it ever get better? Will I ever get over it? If I do, what does that make me?